Robert Rodriguez turned into a human guinea pig to make his debut


He volunteered as a patient for a high-paying clinical experiment at a medical research lab in New Mexico.

One of the most surprising first films is ‘El mariachi’, Robert Rodriguez’s debut film, and not because of the film itself, but because of the way the director got the money to make it: he became a human guinea pig.

Robert Rodriguez was born in San Antonio, Texas on June 20, 1968. Originally from Chicano, he always wanted to direct films, so after completing his film studies at the University of Texas, he tried to work in films as a technician or director with zero Results. He soon realized that if he wanted to direct a movie, he had to finance it himself. But neither he nor his family had the resources for it, so he managed to raise enough money quickly to produce and write a feature film.

To do this, he volunteered as a patient for a high-paying clinical experiment on his body at medical research labs in New Mexico. While hospitalized for several weeks, he took the opportunity to write the script. It was ‘El mariachi’, which would eventually become a trilogy. Rodriguez was 24 years old at the time.

The film cost the $7,000 Rodriguez received for his contribution to science. The money was mainly spent on buying a good camera with many functions, with which he could shoot without any problems. The plot followed a Mariachi, a peaceful man who just wants to play his guitar to continue the tradition of his family. When he arrives looking for work in Acuña, a town on the Mexican border with the United States, he does so at the same time as a gunman who is always dressed in black and carries a guitar case full of weapons, who has escaped. from prison to retrieve an old bill from a gringo drug dealer who lives in Acuña. Not everything is bad for the mariachi, as he meets the owner of a bar, who gives him a roof over his head in exchange for playing. Mistaking the mariachi for the shooter, the trafficker and his men set out on a relentless hunt across town to kill him and get hold of his guitar case. Faced with the persecution to which he is subjected, the Mariachi is forced to kill or be killed and, much to his regret, become a gunman. Attracted to the bar’s owner, kidnapped by the trafficker, the mariachi heads to his ranch to rescue her at any cost.

Once he’s bought the camera, he’s out of money, so Robert Rodriguez decides that in addition to writing the script and directing the film, he’ll also be the editor, musician, cinematographer and person in charge of shooting the film. will be sound. In addition, he allows interpreter friends such as Carlos Gallardo, Consuelo Gómez or Jaime de Hoyos to work without pay, in exchange for receiving their salary when the benefits are filming. For this, he plans to allocate the film to the Latin American home video market, confident it would make money. However, when the film was finished, Columbia liked it enough to buy and distribute the film and pay off its debts. ‘El mariachi’ will be the lowest-budget film ever distributed by a major, as well as the first American film to be released in Spanish by a multinational.

The film told the process of losing certain values ​​of a musician until he became a shooter, on a path that always went down. The film will be presented at the Sundance Festival, where it won the Audience Award. It premiered in the United States and Mexico in September 1992. A few months later, in February 1993, it was selected for a special session by the Berlin Festival. In Spain it opens on September 24, 1993.

‘El mariachi’ has had two sequels in which the main character was played by Antonio Banderas: ‘Desperado’ (1993), which is actually a remake of ‘El Mariachi’. The third part of the trilogy was titled El Mexicano and was recorded in 2003.

Source: La Verdad


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