Saturday, June 22, 2024

Hypnotic: Interview with Robert Rodriguez and Troublemaker Studios Tour

While promoting his new movie Hypnotic, director Robert Rodriguez invited JoBlo to visit his legendary Troublemaker Studios.

For film lovers, the name Robert Rodriguez may bring-to-mind memories of the terrifying misadventures of the Gecko brothers in From Dusk Til’ Dawn – or maybe the name rings a bell as the director of the revolutionary Sin City. But in either case, Robert Rodriguez is the iconic run n’ gun filmmaker that inspired an entire generation of storytellers. And what makes this particular director such a beaming light in the world of movies? Is it his family-style production style? Is it his diverse and broad spectrum of notable works? Could it be the ever-expanding catalogue of A-List talent who star in his projects? Well, yes, yes, and YES!

JoBlo was invited to visit Rodriguez’s legendary “Troublemaker Studios” in Austin, Texas to screen Rodriguez’s latest film, Hypnotic which was fully made “in-house” with a small crew, and an even smaller production schedule. The film is a mind-bending psychological thriller starring Ben Affleck as a jaded detective on a mission to find his missing daughter and uncover the surreal truth behind her disappearance (check out our critic’s review here). Along with the screening came a full tour of the movie studio and all kinds of incredible looks behind the curtain of his films.

Rodriguez purchased the facility in his home of Austin, Texas in the year 2000 and dedicated the space to creating a fully independent movie workshop where Rodriguez and his family/crew could make their own movies without the need to outsource any level of their projects. The studio includes its own costume department, a stunning prop workshop and VFX space, as well as multiple lots and soundstages to create the environment for his many films like Alita Battle Angel, Sin City, and of course the soon-to-be-released Hypnotic. The studio itself functions with the help of a small crew and has Robert working with his sons who compose, write, and produce projects as a family. 

Props like Alita’s sword, costumes from Spy Kids, vehicles from Death Proof and Machete, and hundreds (if not thousands) of other props and memorabilia from his films can be found around every corner of the facility and the sight of it is enough to overwhelm any lover of movies. TRUST ME.

The main soundstage is a converted airplane hangar which is now a wide-open space that can be skinned to become just about anything. Witnessing the gigantic green screen that was used to create the revolutionary visuals of Sin City was similar to my first time seeing the film itself. It was like we were seeing a man whose gorilla filmmaking style had reached peak-level perfection. The studio (and Rodriguez’s movies) use an almost primitive method of two-dollar-tricks like in-camera effects and cuts to create a cinematic language that is uniquely his- and Troublemaker Studios reflects that. 

While screening Hypnotic in the studio’s in-house theater was one of the highlights, I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t completely overwhelmed with inspiration while visiting “Iron City” from Alita Battle Angel. It’s a fully practical set bult in the back lot which features buildings, street signs, sewer caps rigged to blow steam from the ground, and even cleverly placed hoses to create rain in this fictional, yet practically built city square. It was truly an experience unlike any other I’ve ever had. Check out the whole experience in our video embedded above and let us know in the comments what you think of Troublemaker Studios!

Originally published at https://www.joblo.com/hypnotic-interview-with-robert-rodriguez-and-troublemaker-studios-tour/

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