The Summer Movie Preview was written by Rebecca Ascher-Walsh, Jess Cagle, Jeff Gordinier, A.J. Jacobs, Heather Keets, Albert Kim, Gregg Kilday, Chris Nashawaty, Beth Pinsker, Jessica Shaw, Benjamin Svetkey, and Anne Thompson.
Starring Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Steve Buscemi.
Directed By Robert Rodriguez.
When Columbia expressed interest in writer-director-cinematographer-editor Rodriguez’s award-winning Mexican gunslinger movie El Mariachi, he assumed that the studio wanted him to remake the Spanish-language film in English. ”It only cost $7,000,” he says. ”It never occurred to me they would release it as it was.” But Columbia, it turned out, was less interested in a remake than a sequel, so Rodriguez — with a budget roughly one thousand times larger — happily headed off to Mexico to make a romantic adventure about a bandido (Banderas) who arrives in town to kill the bad guys and gets in a heap of trouble.
”I go down for revenge — they killed the woman I loved, and shot off my hand, so I can’t play the guitar anymore,” says Banderas, who adds that his insistence on performing his own stunts sent him to the hospital ”three or four times — my back, my knees, my elbow. But I wanted to suffer with the character.” Luckily, on screen, there’s a beautiful woman (Hayek) available to tend his wounds. ”He’s become a real killer, someone who’s really lethal,” says Banderas. ”And this woman makes him think about beautiful things again.” Joaquim De Almeida stepped in as Desperado’s black hat when Raul Julia, originally slated to play the head drug dealer, died shortly before filming began. ”It was devastating,” says Hayak. ”We heard that when they took him away in the ambulance, he had the script with him.” With a budget of $7 million, Rodriguez says, Desperado holds up to films made for three times as much. ”I don’t need as much money as they need — I write, direct, and edit, and I operate my own camera,” he says. ”On a fast Hollywood set they get maybe 5 or 10 shots a day — we were consistently getting 60.” Nor is Rodriguez shy about how he gets them: ”Some of my best shots, people say, ‘How did you get that?’ and it’s the obvious way — I was lying on the floor and everyone fell on top of me.”
What’s at stake An A-list career for Rodriguez if Desperado delivers half as much bang for the buck as his first film.
Starring William Baldwin, Cindy Crawford, Steven Berkoff, Elizabeth Pena.
Directed By Andy Sipes.
Sipes’ $30 million directorial debut — originally announced as a vehicle for Sylvester Stallone — casts Baldwin as a Miami cop protecting a lawyer (Crawford in her big-screen debut) who’s on the lam from assassins. In addition to the chases and gun battles that are de rigueur for a Joel Silver production, Fair Game also serves up a different kind of action scene: a steamy tryst between the stars on board a train. Shooting the film on a tight 70-day schedule, Sipes had planned to devote only a day to the love scene; instead, it took three. ”There’s a devouring kiss, great foreplay…and then we’re making love,” Baldwin says. ”I was down on one knee and I was kissing her hip and pulling her jeans down, with our hands roaming each other’s bodies.” Crawford, who feels her part was made easier because ”action was the biggest star — it didn’t require me to be Meryl Streep,” says of the train experience, ”It wasn’t horrible, but Billy is obsessing about talking about it.” Wonder why.
What’s at stake For Crawford, a new career; for Baldwin, a chance to get back on the fast track and put memories of Sliver to rest.