ATX Television Festival 2015: ‘Revamping’ From Dusk Till Dawn
Photo by Waytao Shing
“As deep as the temple goes. That’s how big our story can be,” says creator/director/executive producer Robert Rodriguez during a press conference about his series version of From Dusk Till Dawn. This was after a sneak peek of the season two opener at the ATX Television Festival on Sat. June 6.
It wasn’t an accident that the last shot of the 1996 crime/supernatural thriller panned out to reveal the Titty Twister, the bar where culebras (vampire/snake-like creatures) lured humans, as the top of an Aztec temple. There was clearly more to the story than could fit in a 108-minute film.
“That is a door to a mythology that’s so expansive and rich and never used,” says Juan Carlos Coto, writer and executive producer for the series. “And the characters were so rich.”
Though the continuing of this story would’ve been problematic, since four of the six main characters die at the movie’s end, including the terrible beauty Santánico Pandemonium, originally brought to after-life by Salma Hayek.
“I loved the character of Santánico,” Rodriguez says. “Even when she was supposed to be dead. I had her disappear and smile as if she was gonna come back. Subliminally I was gonna bring her back in a series.”
So it had to be a retelling or “revamping” of the story, which opened up endless possibilities. “We have ideas that go all the way to six seasons, at least,” Rodriguez says.
One thing that gets explored more in the series is the strange tension between the hardened bank robber Seth Gecko and church-going family girl Kate Fuller, characters originally portrayed by George Clooney and Juliette Lewis.
Even when I was a freshman watching this movie on a VHS rental (because I was too young to see it in the theater), I found this The Professional-like tension between the characters interesting, considering the 12-year age difference between the actors. Well, this show is able to explore the possibilities of this relationship more fully, especially in the season one closer.
“There’re two people that have both been through very similar things,” says Madison Davenport (Katie “Kate” Fuller). “When people go through similar tragedies they tend to latch on to each other.”
“They were both ripped out of the worlds that they operated in best, and their support systems and the people they work with and cared about, were tore away from them by forces that they cannot comprehend,” says D. J. Cotrona (Seth Gecko). “After all the madness that happens in the first season…they have more in common towards the end than anyone else.”
So to say where the season two premiere opener finds these two characters, is interesting to say the least.
There is another unlikely pairing for Richie Gecko (Zane Holtz) as well. “I’m still representing the sorta gangster half of Dusk Till Dawn and she’s sort of this supernatural, horror beauty,” says Holtz, referring to a new partnership in season two, though it may not be as stable as he thinks.
“I think the really interesting part of this season is everyone’s watching over their shoulders,” says Eiza González (Santánico). “Anyone can stab anyone in the back. Because it’s a world where there’s no rules.”
I was also able to get Rodriguez to let me in on why he feels his movies all seem to have this certain “flavor”. I don’t know about you, but I can always pick out a Rodriguez film. There’s just something about his style.
“I have my hands in so many aspects of it,” Rodriguez says. “I operate the camera a lot. I do the score. I also do the editing.” He also does the framing. That may be why even when he dabbles in different genres (comedy, romance, action, horror) it seems like “the same eyeball looking at it.”
From Dusk Till Dawn is available on Netflix Instant.