Director Robert Rodriguez uses his kids
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.