Tarantino and Rodriguez: Who's the Man?


They are no longer the enfants terrible of the film world, but they are still taking wild risks. Fifteen years after bursting onto the movie scene with their popular independent films "Reservoir Dogs" and "El Mariachi," film auteurs Quentin Tarantino, 44, and Robert Rodriguez, 38, have teamed up for their sixth and most ambitious collaboration, "Grindhouse," a gory, cheeky, campy double-feature that seeks to re-create a night at a cheesy movie theater circa the 1970s.

The experience comes complete with previews for non-existent films ("Thanksgiving" by Eli Roth, director of "Hostel," for instance), aged film, and missing reels. (ABC News has learned that one of those "missing" reels was actually filmed, so fans should be on the lookout for it, perhaps in the DVD release of the film. We're holding our tongues as to which scene, so as not to be spoilers.)

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"Planet Terror," Rodriguez's contribution, features Freddie Rodriguez as brooding anti-hero Wray and Rose McGowan as go-go dancer Cherry, battling zombies in a small Texas town. McGowan's right leg is eventually replaced by a machine gun. Tarantino contributes "Death Proof," starring Kurt Russell as "Stuntman Mike," a maniac who stalks scantily-clad young women with his stunt car. The film has raised eyebrows in Hollywood with its extremely violent content and three-hours-plus length, but Tarantino and Rodriguez are unapologetic and excited about their latest experiment. The following is a transcript of our interview.

People probably know what a "Grindhouse" movie is, but they might not know they know what it is. So explain -- what is it?

A Grindhouse movie is a movie that basically they would play at these old cavernous, dilapidated theaters in urban areas of America, whether it be Kansas City, or Detroit, or Chicago, or New York. And, basically, they were movies that were just built on sensationalistic content, whether it be sex or action or scantily clad women or monsters or gore or any kind of dozens of genres that could be playing at these theaters.

Now you release a movie, maybe there are 3,000 prints going out in the course of a weekend. But, then, in grindhouse days, they might make four or five prints, and that's it. And they would take them to Chattanooga, and it would play there, those four prints. And then they would take it to Memphis, and it plays there.

And they would play it for the course of a year. But in each theater, it is getting more jacked up, because they have the worst theaters and the worst projection booths. So by the end of the -- like the year, it's a year run -- it is actually disintegrating in the projector where you paid to see it. And, kind of, that was the whole history of Grindhouse movies.

Why is it called Grindhouse?

I think it is a "Variety" term. But it just kind of fits as a metaphor of, these things are ground out. And there's kind of even a striptease, bump-and-grind aspect to the entire setting.

And you both grew up watching these types of movies?

Quentin even more than me. And he collects film prints. So, over the past 12 years, he has a theater in his house. He's just been showing me double, triple features of movies that either he grew up watching or that he's discovered over the years. So I've gotten the full Grindhouse education.

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