Robert Rodriguez: ‘I Have to Accessorize’ the Stars of ‘Machete Kills’

Director Robert Rodriguez fills his cast almost like the machine gun bra Sofia Vergara wears in “Machete Kills” — they’re both potent and loaded.

Danny Trejo, Mel Gibson, Sofia Vergara and Alexa Vega were among the stars who attended the flick’s preem on Oct. 2 at Regal Cinemas LA Live.

With a cast so laden with stars, Rodriguez said he was under pressure to deliver bigger-than-life characters that would match their big personalities.

“They knew that they would get a chance to come be very bold, iconic, memorable, stand out in a way that they don’t usually get to do in regular movies,” Rodriguez said. “And it pushes you as a filmmaker. You go, ‘God, they’re coming here for the ride. I can’t let them down.’ So I have to accessorize all of them and give them things that are just so memorable that they feel like they got their trips worth coming down to Austin.” Exhibit A: Vergara’s machine gun bra.

One character who’s taken that trip time and time again is Trejo.

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“Me and Robert have been talking about this role for 20 years,” Trejo said. “When we did ‘Desperado,’ he said, ‘I’ve got this role that’s perfect for you’ and he said ‘you don’t have to act.’”

Rodriguez said before the screening, “Even his mom calls him ‘Machete.'”

Gibson, who plays Bond-esque villain Luther Voz, worked with Trejo for the majority of his two-week shoot. The entire movie was filmed in just 29 days.

“I didn’t know Danny much before, but he’s a scary looking dude, right? He’s like scary,” Gibson said. “You think, ‘This is the scariest looking dude I’ve ever seen.’ But he’s a teddy bear.”

While Trejo was the teddy bear on set, Rodriguez was the father figure. He initially hesitated to cast Vega in the very adult film or any other one of his violent and sexual movies. Rodriguez first directed her as a 12-year-old in 2001’s “Spy Kids.”

“Everybody still sees me as this young girl, which is totally fine; I’m going to take advantage of that for as long as I can,” Vega said. “But there are times when you want to be able to play different roles and I honestly called Robert and said, ‘I want an awesome role in ‘Sin City.’ I’m like, ‘I’ll audition, I’ll fight for it, whatever you want, I’m going to do it.’ And he said, ‘Absolutely not. I’m would never cast you in a film like ‘Sin City.’” I’m like, ‘You see, that’s what I’m talking about, nobody pictures me as a grown up.’”

She eventually convinced him to let her play a small role meant for an extra, with the possibility of developing it further. “So I literally showed up, had to just own it, no fear, nothing,” Vega said. “And he expanded the role a bunch.”

Rodriguez also expanded the part of Madame Desdemona once Vergara signed on for the job. He often turns a few lines of text into a whole arc after casting.

“When Sofia Vergara signs on for the Desdemona character, well, that character then dials up to 11,” she said. “She’s not gonna wanna come in, say some lines and go home. She’s gonna wanna come and be like the main thing on the poster.”

Chris Evans, Gary Busey, Paris Hilton, Lou Diamond Phillips, Gene Simmons and Laura Prepon also walked the carpet. Some later joined Rodriguez and Vega at the after party in the Conga Room, and an amateur magician also performed.

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