Director Robert Rodriguez uses his kids

04/05/2007 at 12:22 AM ET

Having five kids comes in handy for Grindhouse director Robert Rodriguez. He jokes to Jay Leno on The Tonight Show that he finds his four sons, Rocket Valentin, Racer, Rebel Antonio, Rogue and daughter Rhiannon Elizabeth, 1, with his estranged wife Elizabeth Avellan, useful on his films when he’s in need of a few extras.

I do put them in my films, but in things I can’t get from other normalkids. Like in Spy Kids, there’s no such thing as stunt kids, so you haveto use your own kids. ‘You’re out, you’re in, come in.’

Only one of them, though, can be seen in Grindhouse.

Rebel, the 7-year-old. I kill him. Once again, you don’t want totraumatize someone else’s kid. ‘Son, you gotta take one for the team.’ Hedoesn’t actually doesn’t know he dies. I shot extra footage of himliving til the end, so he actually does not know.

Someone who does know Rebel’s alter ego’s fate is Robert’s mom, who dozed off during a screening but woke up just in time.

She had her eyes just peacefully closed the whole time and I’m watchinggoing, ‘Oh now I really want her to keep her eyes closed during thispart.’ And right then she opened [her eyes] just in time to see her grandson get killed. And she’s like, ‘Oh!’ It was horrible just to seethe look on her face – I did that to her and my son.

Asked about his children’s unusual names, Robert attributes them to side effects he sustained from his college years when he subjected himself to medical tests to make extra money.

Rocket is the first one. And once you name your first kid Rocket, youcan’t name your next kid Marty. Racer, Rebel, Rogue…I’m just gonnablame this on the medical experiments. But they do have regular middlenames in case they don’t want to start their own wrestling team.


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Melissa on

I have a bit of a problem with the title of this article. It makes Rodriguez sound like a horrible father. I watched both the tonight show and Craig Furgeson and he was joking about most of it. He seems like a good Dad to me. He said he even shot extra footage so his son would think he lived throughout the film. I just think the title should at least have a question mark behind it.

Joyce, CBB Correspondent on

Melissa –

I changed the title of the article. It was not meant to imply that Robert is a horrible father, but was more of a tongue-in-cheek headline that wasn’t supposed to be taken literally if one reads the story and hopefully sees that he is joking and that the story is already categorized under “Ha ha.” I do apologize if it offended you.

Melissa on

Thanks for changing the title. I feel kind of bad for making such a fuss but I just wanted to make sure readers who didn’t watch the show knew he was joking. I took the title the wrong way obviously. Rodriguez happens to be my favorite director though and my kids love his child appropriate films. I apologize if I seemed to harsh. Thanks

Naughty Cal on

So the kid’s gonna die? Thanks for spoiling that (that was aimed at Robert, not you). I didn’t even like when he killed off the teenager in From Dusk Till Dawn.

Holly Catherine Slavic on

OoOhh where did I read that he and his wife are estranged due to Robert’s affair with leading lady Rose McGowan?

NYP’s Page Six had it yesterday or the day before.

gabriella on

Salma Hayek is the godmother of all his children. I like him as a director done some great movies like desperado, from dust till dawn, once upon a time in mexico, etc. It was sad to hear he left his wife for Rose. It has been in the newspapers, and I recently saw pics of them kissing and holding hands. He had a wife for quite a few years and five kids, that’s a shame.

Holly Catherine Slavic on

I think he will come crawling back to the wife.