From Dusk Till Dawn is a currently airing series on the El Rey network, Tuesdays at 9pm/EST. The show is currently rounding out its second season, with episode nine coming out this upcoming Tuesday and the season finale airing on October 27th.
We at Word of the Nerd are big fans of the show, and for more on the series, check out our list, “Six Reasons to Tune into ‘From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series.’”
We were lucky enough to sit down with Robert Rodriguez and the FDTD Cast at New York Comic Con. We talked shows, seasons, and the deep, dark issues of From Dusk Till Dawn. Check out part one, with Robert Rodriguez, Eiza Gonzalez, and Zane Holtz.
We asked creator, writer, and director Rodriguez why he decided to redo the movie as the show’s first season. Was it ever discussed to simply make the show an extension of the film?
“The whole reason we did season one the way we did remaking the film,” said Rodriguez. “Was to set it up in a way that we could have sequels, you know, seasons. If we had just started the first season where the movie takes off, most of those guys are dead so we had to keep some people alive, come up with a deeper mythology, build the groundwork. So I thought, ‘Let’s just remake the story of the film in season one in a way that surprises people and expands the storyline.”
“It just the stage for season two. We could really start the season. So now we’re really starting the story. It almost feels like a real sequel to the film. Because you see Seth and Kate together, you see the brothers split up… And new characters, and we found a lot of parallels between my mythology and these cults and the crime world. So we put together a crime world and a vampire world… And really just wanted to tell a story that would put everyone on a new path where you don’t know what’s going to happen next.”
Rodriguez mentioned that he directed and wrote the season finale for season two, and that it happens to be his favorite episode of the season. The seven minute clip shown at the FDTD Panel was an enormous fight scene from episode 10. So, classic Rodriguez.
“Ten will have you screaming,” Rodriguez said. “Because it so, so pays off everything that’s been set up. There are some cliffhangers, you definitely want to come back for more.”
Which begs the question: will there be a season 3? The answer is a fairly solid yes. In terms of allusions and set-up for season 3, Rodriguez said, “We have a pretty good idea of where we want to go. But we don’t really set up until we start writing the third season. Little ideas we had always get bigger and better.”
And to jump on the ideas posed, we discussed parallels between seasons one and two. For those of you watching, you’ve likely noticed a lot of uncanny similarities between moments, characters, and even spoken lines. This is entirely intentional, Rodriguez said. “Some of the things, like, we knew we would meet Uncle Eddie in season two. We mentioned him in season one, and we get him in season two. One of the things that my show runner taught me- He taught me this trick. I would say ‘Oh when are we gonna get to El Rey?’ and he’d say ‘Oh that’s not until season five.’ I was like, ‘Season five?! We’re still only making season one!’ They know hallmarks of where they want to go and they push it as far back as possible.”
He added, “In a movie, everything is very fast. You set something up and you pay it off right away. In a series, you’re making ten movies a season, basically. So you have to be kind of patient and really just set things up more.”
From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series, was Rodriguez’s first endeavor on his new network, the El Rey network. He mentioned El Rey as an English-speaking network with Hispanic roots, saying “We wanted to have some mythology in there that rang true to people who are Hispanic.”
Eiza Gonzalez and Zane Holtz
Gonzalez and Holtz are two major linchpins of the series. Gonzalez plays culebra demi-goddess (and snake mom) Santanico Pandemonium, hell-bent on reaping revenge on her abusers. Holtz plays Richie Gecko, one half of our famed Gecko brothers, a newly turned culebra who has been finding his own footing this whole season.
“What I like the most about Santanico is that it’s an amazing character.” Gonzalez said. “As a female role in Robert Rodriguez’s world, it’s very interesting to be a part of this strong show. There’s male strong characters and you would expect us girls not to be as strong as them, but being able to be Santanico and being able to talk about being abused and you know, she’s literally the pimp of the Twister. But she has a good soul, and she wants to break free. She’s been rotten by all these men. She’s been used and abused. And obviously being a part of this show and doing a character that females can look up to, it’s really fun and it’s such a fun character as well. I get to be badass but I also have this very sensitive side. She’s very emotional, still, even though she’s a vampire. She has evil to herself.”
“[Santanico’s] more just,” Zane continued. “She’s more justified and [Richie’s] more greedy.”
“She wants vengeance,” Eiza said. “She wants to bring peace back to this world. She’s trying to save her people. But she understands that the means are always going to be complicated. So she understands that some heads are going to have to be chopped in order to really get to the big deal. She’s not evil or bitter, she’s just honest and cold and goes for what she has to do.”
We got a closer look at Richie Gecko, specifically at the workings of Richie’s mind. To preface, there’s a large online community of autistic people that see a lot of themselves in Richie, and this was discussed at the round table.
“I don’t want to speak and say that I’m verse enough on autism to say whether or not that is true, but I get from what I do know, you can see that his social cues are a little bit different than other peoples’, and he picks up on things a little bit differently than some of the other characters do. You know in the first season you see that his actions are- He seems distracted, his brother doesn’t know what he’s doing or what’s kind of affecting him or why he’s acting in this way. So that’s interesting, because that never really came up with the writers, but that’s cool that people are looking into and perceiving it in different ways. He had some hurdles that he had to jump over in the first season, and now in season two we see him bloom into this more confident guy.”
We also brought up the storyline with Santanico’s prodigy, Paloma. To avoid major spoilers, we’ll just say that Gonzalez was asked how she felt about the progression of that story, and what it meant for Santanico as a whole.
“I love that storyline,” she said. “It’s a crucial part of understanding who Santanico really is. She’s super-intelligent. Calculating. She understands. She’s much more primal. But at the same time, Richard is being intro [the culebra world] and I’m being introduced to THE world. Because you know, I’ve been locked in the Titty Twister. It’s like two independent relationships sort of feeding into one another. But when Paloma comes into the storyline, you start to understand. There’s that scene where I go, ‘They’re not gonna touch you,’ and she’s saying these lines… She’s talking about herself. This is what she wishes she’d had. It’s a very beautiful relationship she has with the character and it really shows that Santanico’s a human and also that we make bad choices. I like that the series allows the characters to have bad choices. It’s not always ‘oh and then we triumphed.’ The characters do bad things. I think that’s cool. Every character does that throughout the season.”
“They did a really good job of exposing Santanico to this machine that she’s been influencing this whole time,” Zane added. “She’s been in there for 500 years. She’s seeing the world that she’s a part of whether she wants to or not. And you can see that my character is kind of oblivious. You’ll see that really come to a head over the next few episodes.”
And speaking of choices and Santanico and Richie, there was a matter that needed to be addressed: In season one, we find out that Richie killed his abusive father to save himself and his brother, Seth. Both Richie and Santanico are very prominent victims of abuse. How has that factored into their relationship at all in the series?
“I think there’s probably a reason why Santanico chose Richie to be the one she was going to call out to,” Holtz said.
“She sees a potential in him,” Gonzalez added.
“There’s a reason he had that calling to come and save her,” Holtz said. “But now that [Santanico’s] out, [she] kind of sees that maybe she doesn’t love me? Those are the kind of the layers we get to see.”
“And also, if you analyze it, every character on this show goes through some kind of abuse. [Santanico] went through it with Malvado, Carlos is used, Narcisso is used by Malvado. Everyone has had certain scaring throughout the show, and I think that’s the lovable thing about Robert and Quentin: they write intelligent characters that people can relate to in various ways. [Kate] has family issues, Santanico has an abusive relationship with Malvado, and she looks at him as this creator male figure. Every character on the show has that, and we always say ‘There’s bad, there’s worse, and there’s even worse’ in this show. There’s not good and bad.”
“But everyone is bad ass,” Holtz confirmed.
And he’s right.
From Dusk Till Dawn airs at 9pm, Tuesdays on El Rey. All of season one is currently available on Netflix.
For interviews with Jesse Garcia + DJ Cortrona and Madison Davenport and Brandon Soo Hoo, check back tomorrow with Word of the Nerd!