Fantastic Fest kicked off in Austin, TS last night with hometown hero Robert Rodriguez world premiering his new Mexploitation movie Machete Kills (in theaters October 11). Danny Trejo—the man, the myth—returns as Machete, the unstoppable one-man army against all things evil and corrupt. The sequel, about Machete’s quest to defuse a bomb built into baddie Damian Bichir’s chest before it detonates on Washington, D.C., is stuffed with cameos. There’s the Chameleon, a ruthless, face-changing killer played by everyone from Cuba Gooding, Jr. to Antonia Banderas to Lady Gaga. Mel Gibson is a Star Wars-loving genius bent on world destruction. Sofia Vergara a brothel madam with a killer bra. Charlie Sheen turns up as America’s President Rathcock, in a crude portrayal that thoroughly besmirches the office once held by Josiah Bartlett.
In a post-screening Q&A conducted by Harry Knowles, Rodriguez was joined on stage by Trejo and former Spy Kids cherub Alexa Vega. The 25-year-old does a 180 on the role that made her famous by playing one of Vergara’s gun-toting whores. Rodriguez told the audience he cast Vega, whose tight, short red dress made getting up on her stool a mighty challenge, after she begged him to help revamp her cutie kid image. Rodriguez claims to have great experience helping actors step out of their boxes, citing he helped George Clooney shed his affable E.R. doc image after casting him in From Dusk Til Dawn. And then he says he did a similar image revamping of Spy Kids mom Carla Gugino when he cast her in Sin City. So what else could he do for Vega, a girl he’s known since she was a little bitty, but grant her a long shot of walking away from the camera in a pair of chaps?
Another sequel is already in the works. Machete Kills Again…in Space! (I want that on a t-shirt.)