Robert Rodriguez keeps busy. That much has been clear for a long time—his eighteen-feature film resume, his memoir, and his TV network all prove this is a guy who hates to be bored. And the latest efforts in his war against boredom have now got official trailers.
First, there’s the first two-and-a-half minute spot for Sin City: A Dame To Kill For—the second of his collaborations with comics icon Frank Miller, based on Miller’s Sin City graphic novel series. With stark black-and-white photography (with splashes of color), an all-star cast, and a grimy aesthetic that’s lifted directly from Miller’s work, A Dame To Kill For appears to be a note-perfect recreation of the formula that made the initial Sin City one of the surprise highlights of Rodriguez’s career.
Sin City: A Dame To Kill For—coming less than a year after Rodriguez’s previous feature, last fall’s under-performing Machete Kills—is already a sign of a busy work schedule, but in between the two films, he also filmed, wrapped, and aired an entire season of From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series on his El Rey Network. That was just the first of the network’s original programming efforts, and the second one—the adventure series Matador, starring Austin native Gabriel Luna as Tony Bravo, an undercover federal agent who masquerades as a flamboyant soccer star for the L.A. Riot professional soccer team nicknamed “The Matador.”
That’s a fairly off-the-wall concept (professional soccer in the U.S. having a following? Come on!), but the show’s creator, Roberto Orci, has proven himself capable of delivering quality television out of, how you say, less-than-mainstream concepts (he’s also responsible for Fox’s Sleepy Hollow, one of last season’s purest television pleasures). With Luna, a newcomer to the screen, confidently in the driver’s seat—and longtime presence Alfred Molina backing him up as the Riot’s coach—Matador looks to be a strong summer sleeper candidate.
What’s good for El Rey, ultimately, is also good for Texas—Rodriguez has long been a booster of his home state for his filmmaking endeavors with his own Troublemaker Studios, and he announced earlier this week that El Rey would also officially be headquartered out of Austin. That’s not a small thing, given the steady work created by a year-round TV production cycle, and it’s something that film industry professionals in Texas, who’ve previously had to wait for low-rated, perpetually on-the-bubble shows like Revolution and Friday Night Lights to get picked up to know that they’d be working.
Sin City‘s success is as close to a sure-thing as Rodriguez has had in his career, given the cult status that the original enjoys and the fact that the stars—from Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt to Jessica Alba and Lady Gaga—all came out for this one. Matador, meanwhile, is a bigger gamble—but if it finds its audience, a lot of opportunities may well open up for future series out of Texas.