Chainsaws, Slackers, and Spy Kids: Thirty Years of Filmmaking in Austin, Texas

By Alison Macor | Go to book overview

Robert doesn’t believe in doing any
thing for longer than 15 minutes.
HARRY KNOWLES


10
Rebel With or Without a Crew
Robert Rodriguez and Spy Kids

By June 1997 Elizabeth Avellán and Robert Rodriguez had made two films together and had two young sons. Their first child, Rocket Valentino Rodriguez Avellán, was born in 1995, shortly after Rodriguez wrapped production on the Quentin Tarantino-scripted genre bender From Dusk Till Dawn. Throughout 1995 and into early 1996, Rodriguez traveled between the couple’s rented house in Los Angeles and their new house under construction in Austin. Meanwhile, Avellán was flying between Los Angeles and Houston with the infant Rocket, juggling producing duties and caring for her ailing mother. Ever the multitaskers, the couple managed to conceive their second son later that same year. In April 1997, Avellán gave birth to Racer Maximiliano Rodriguez Avellán in Los Angeles. Two months later, the family was back in Austin for good.

Family, says Avellán, was “one of the themes of our life,” and it had clearly inspired Rodriguez in his earliest short films like Bedhead, which exaggerated the rivalry that he knew so well growing up in a family of ten siblings. By the mid-1990s, the arrival of his own children and work on films like Four Rooms would inspire Spy Kids (2001), Rodriguez’s most ambitious project to date. A new deal with Miramax’s Harvey and Bob Weinstein made the project possible, and it also allowed Rodriguez and Avellán to create Troublemaker Studios, a full-service film facility in Austin.

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