Fans have been asking for 18 years and finally it's happening: the follow-up to Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino's cult classic "From Dusk Till Dawn."
The series follows the same rough outline as the movie: Two bank-robbing brothers (here played by D.J. Cotrona and Zane Holtz) are on the run from the law (Don Johnson and Jesse Garcia). They abduct a family (Robert Patrick, Madison Davenport, and Brandon Soo Hoo) and use their RV to smuggle themselves across the border, where they find themselves in a strip club full of vampires (Eiza González, Wilmer Valderrama). The entire action of the season will take less than a day.
Rodriguez told Yahoo TV that he's looking to "expand the original characters and story lines from Quentin [who wrote the film] into a new version, a new retelling of it — in a way that introduces new characters, different story lines, different trajectories for the characters to really build up this Mayan mythology once they get to the bar in Mexico to help it sustain it for further seasons."
He added, "That's why I wanted to come do it. One, for the network; and two, I always wanted to go back and explore some of the themes that I hinted at in the first film." Though Rordriguez and Tarantino have been approached about a sequel or spinoff for years, the duo refused to give up the rights. But now that Rodriguez has a way to turn it into a TV series while still maintaining creative control, he's ready to do what people thought was "not possible to bring to television."
We've got an exclusive early look at the posters for the series, which premieres on Rodriguez's new cable network El Rey on March 11. The blood-soaked images are in keeping with the tone of the original and, presumably, the new TV show.
Santanico Pandemonium is the "FDTD" role made famous by Salma Hayek when she was mainly known as a Mexican soap star. In the TV version, Rodriguez cast González, who is on a similar career path. The 23-year-old beauty plays the century-old Santanico, vampire queen and main attraction at the Titty Twister bar south of the border.
Aside from the definitely NSFW Cheech Marin speech, Santanico — sexy and sultry one moment, savage and feral the next — is the most memorable part of the original film and the background of the vampires is the least fleshed-out story, so expect to see a lot more of Santanico in this TV version.
Some roles are just hard to shake. Even though it's been eight years since Wilmer Valderrama last played Fez on "That '70s Show," we still think of him as a goofy foreign exchange student. While he's had plenty of roles in the meantime, this looks like it will be the furthest away from that friendly sitcom style.
Valderrama plays crime lord Carlos Madrigal, who apparently is also a vampire, which means he's probably in thrall to Santanico. If a blood-sucking, drug-dealing kingpin who spends his days at a strip club isn't enough to make you forget Fez, nothing will.
The original Gecko brothers, Seth and Richard, were played by George Clooney (the smooth one) and Quentin Tarantino (the psychopath). In the TV version, they're played by D.J. Cotrona and Zane Holtz. Cotrona's previous work as Flint in "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" suggests he has the cool confidence and charm needed for the role. Holtz hasn't played many murdering, raping bank robbers, but he did do the spoof "Vampires Suck," so maybe that experience will come in handy. In the poster and trailer, he gives off a very Cillian-Murphy-as-the-Scarecrow vibe, which would be perfect for the series.
A pastor who's lost his faith traveling with his two kids is abducted and forced to fight vampires to protect his family. There aren't many that do grizzled and world-weary better than Robert Patrick, and he's had plenty of experience doing it surrounded by the supernatural ("The X Files," "True Blood"). The kids look ready, too: Brandon Soo Hoo played a young ninja in the first "G.I. Joe" film, and Madison Davenport played the sister of a demon-possessed girl in Sam Raimi's "The Possession."
If you're still worried this show might be too "Twilight" for your tastes, please note that Davenport is holding a chainsaw as her weapon of choice against vampires. If the image of Bella swinging a chainsaw at Edward made you smile: You're welcome.
The lawmen chasing the Geckos — who also get caught up in the vampire mess — are played by Jesse Garcia and Don Johnson. Johnson has been playing cops for nearly 40 years, from beat cop to the slickest undercover agent in Miami. He's one of the few people who can give Robert Patrick a run for his money when it comes to tough and leathery old men.
Garcia has played characters on both sides of the law, most notably as a member of the Mayans, a rival gang in "Sons of Anarchy." Johnson's sheriff doesn't seem at all concerned that he's drenched in blood, which is good — it looks like everybody will be covered in blood for most of the run of the show.
"From Dusk Till Dawn" premieres Tuesday, March 11 at 9 p.m. on El Rey.