A film with the word “kills” in the title doesn’t immediately suggest it would be whole lot of fun. “Machete Kills,” however, like its predecessor, bucks that trend, because it is an exploitation film that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Sure, there is a lot of death and destruction, but most of these moments are accompanied by a knowing wink at the audience. The film is a blast to watch, so it makes sense that there are some fun facts behind its making.
The Concept is Based on a Fake Movie Trailer
The first appearance of the Machete character in a film came in the 2007 exploitation film “Grindhouse,” which is actually a double-feature. The two films that make up “Grindhouse” are Robert Rodriguez’s “Planet Terror” and Quentin Tarantino’s “Death Proof.” Sandwiched in between the two films are trailers for fake films, including “Machete,” with actor Danny Trejo in the lead role, and “Hobo with a Shotgun.” Both of these fake trailers were eventually made into feature-length films, with “Machete” as the only one so far to lead to a sequel, “Machete Kills.” That makes three full-length films that have spawned from “Grindhouse,” with more very likely to come should “Machete Kills” be as successful in the box office as its predecessor.
Interestingly, there is another fake trailer in “Machete Kills,” featuring the main character himself. This time, he is still killing, but he is doing so in space. There is no word yet on whether or not “Machete Kills in Space” will be made into an actual movie. At the end of the first film, a voiceover informed viewers that the character of Machete would return in “Machete Kills” and “Machete Kills Again,” so if a space-based sequel were to be made, it would more than likely be the fourth film, after “Machete Kills Again.”
Filming Took Less Than a Month
After “Machete” did good business despite a relatively modest budget, a sequel was quickly commissioned. In June 2012, Rodriguez announced that production had already begun on the sequel, which at the time was simply called “Machete 2.” In July, he announced on Twitter that production had wrapped; the filming had been completed in just 29 days, an astoundingly short period for a film with as many actors as “Machete Kills.”
Movie Stars Galore
A small handful of actors reprise their roles from the original film, including Trejo, Michelle Rodriguez, and Jessica Alba. Most of the rest of the cast is new because Rodriguez tells a very different story than in the first film. The new additions include some very well-known actors, including Demian Bichir as the main villain and Mel Gibson as an arms dealer who seems to have a rather tenuous grasp on reality. Academy Award-winner Cuba Gooding, Jr. also makes an appearance, as do Antonio Banderas, Zoe Saldana, Vanessa Hudgens, Lady Gaga, Walton Goggins, and William Sadler, just to name a few others.
Introducing Carlos Estevez
The world already knows who Carlos Estevez is, but it knows him as Charlie Sheen, the stage name of real Carlos Estevez. Sheen took the stage name of his father Martin Sheen, who had dumped his Latino birthname because he was afraid it would get in the way of getting work back when he first started acting in the 1960s. For this film, the younger Sheen decided to use his real name because he felt it reflected the Hispanic theme of the film. The trailer makes light of this fact by using the tagline “And introducing Carlos Estevez,” which is played for laughs. It marks the first time Sheen has used his birthname for a film, and may very well be the last-he has not announced plans to do it again.
Even Machete is Afraid of Demons
The Machete character is a brave man who isn’t afraid to take on anyone in any of the films or trailers in which he has appeared. But apparently, his fearlessness does not extend to demons, because “Machete Kills” was originally supposed to be released in mid-September, but the producing studio pushed the release to October instead. The executives didn’t want the film to compete with “Insidious: Chapter 2, “which was slated to be released at the same time. It seems that the suits-in-charge felt as if the two movies would appeal to similar audiences, which would hurt the box office prospects of “Machete Kills.” Instead of taking on the demon-filled horror sequel, the studio decided to unleash Trejo on moviegoers in October instead.