Machete Kills director Robert Rodriguez burst onto the scene with his 1993 super-low-budget Spanish-language shoot-em-up, El Mariachi. Made for roughly $6,000 (famously paid for partially by the director undergoing medical experiments), the fun, fast-paced action romp followed the title character as he is mistaken for a hit man after finding a guitar case full of guns.
Rodriguez revisited this set-up in his remake/sequel with a bigger budget (and Antonio Banderas) for Desperado, and then again in Once Upon A Time in Mexico. Now Sony Pictures Television will join Colombian partner Teleset (Sony bought 50% of the network in 2009) to produce 70 episodes of an original series based on Rodriguez's first movie, and titled the same.
The Hollywood Reporter tells us that Mexican actor Ivan Arana (Soy tu Fan) is set to star as "the lovestruck, revenge-seeking mariachi who wages war against fearsome drug cartels." Arana will be joined by Julio Bracho (Road to Fame) and Martha Higareda (Street Kings) in unspecified roles. The show will air in Latin American on Sony Entertainment Television (known as "Canal Sony" south of the border, with content primarily distributed by HBO Latin America Group), and then on a currently-unnamed station in the U.S.
There is no indication of how much Rodriguez will be involved - if at all - but Sony sounds enthusiastic about the Spanish-language show's potential. The studio's Latin America vice-president, Angelica Guerrero stated:
"Staying true to the story, we are producing the series in Mexico, shooting in magnificent locations and utilizing some of the country's best talent."
The world is still waiting for Robert Rodriguez's Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, which has been pushed back yet again, to the summer of 2014. We'll see Machete Kills later this year, which promises to be as camp-tastic (if less cheesily self-aware than just cheesy) as we've come to expect from the multi-hyphenate auteur. Still, El Mariachi started it all, and while this series adaptation sounds notably darker and more straightforward than the gleefully unhinged original, it's a fun, ambitious idea.
Rodriguez likes to do things his own way, evidenced by his
middle-finger to tweaking the Director's Guild with crediting Frank Miller as co-director on Sin City, operating almost exclusively out of his Austin, Texas facility, and his bizarre, fan-assisted short film Two Scoops. This would the type of project he'd be expected to jump aboard, but again there is zero mention that the director will be involved.
It's interesting to note that Sony and Teleset are behind the Spanish-language remake of Breaking Bad, called Metastasis, which is set entirely in notorious drug-cartel capital Bogota, Columbia. Could these universes somehow cross paths? Unlikely, but an intriguing premise.
Stay tuned for more news on the TV version of El Mariachi as details become available.