As every knows, Grindhouse (Weinstein Co., 4.07) will be two high-style wank-off movies in one — Robert Rodriguez‘s Planet Terror and Quentin Tarantino‘s Death Proof. Two guys who are capable of much, much more slumming by making a couple of B movies in quotes. Point is, this thing became more interesting since the stories started getting around last summer about Rodriguez disassembling and losing his focus during the shooting of Death Planet because he was so emotionally shattered over getting divorced from his wife and producer, Elizabeth Avellan.
This freakout — a couple of guys I’ve spoken to have used the antiquated term “nervous breakdown”, which is a leftover from the ’50s and ’60s — didn’t detonate the movie, but it came close. “It was touch and go, but they got through it,” a guy tells me. And I gather some exta costs were incurred, whcih always happens when a film isn’t made in a perfectly ordered and coordinated way.
Rodriguez is “a traditional Hispanic Catholic male,” a friend says, “who depended on Elizabeth to nurture, support and protect him..and when that marriage fell apart [after some 16 years of togetherness], he lost it.”
The intrigue for me is, does an artist need to have to have a smooth, happy, secure, well-ordered personal life to do good work? Maybe this is necessary for some people, but I don’t know that this is vital for everyone. This sounds a bit cold, but I’m thinking that Planet Terror will probably be a more layered thing to watch now, given what’s happened. In the same sense that Douglas Trumbull‘s Brain- storm (’83) became unavoidably more intriguing with everyone knowing that costar Natalie Wood had drowned not long after it was made.