Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over | Nicole Kidman | Weekend Wows

Spy Kids Star's Family Can't See Movie

The mother and twin brother of Daryl Sabara (search) can’t see the 11-year-old’s new movie, Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over.

Each suffers from a lazy eye syndrome that makes it impossible for them to use the 3-D cardboard glasses with red and blue lenses necessary for viewing the movie, which opens today.

But that’s all right because director Robert Rodriguez (search) has made a special 2-D version of the film for them. He’s planning on showing it to them next week. The 2-D Spy Kids 3 will also be included in the DVD package of the movie later this year.

Rodriguez told me yesterday he’s become close to the Sabaras since Daryl was 6 years old and starred in the first Spy Kids movie. Now that the series has ended, how will Rodriguez keep Sabara from turning into one of those show-biz teens who hold up 7-Elevens?

“If you look at all my films you see the same actors over and over,” Rodriguez said. “So I’m sure Daryl will be turning up in future projects.”

Indeed, Rodriguez has turned making family films into a family adventure by creating an extended family. Actors like Salma Hayek and Antonio Banderas make appearances in all his movies, even if it’s for five minutes. For SK3-D, Hayek was shooting Frida and had no time. Eventually, Rodriguez persuaded her to do a week’s worth of work. It just seems like she’s in the whole movie.

With Banderas, who makes a cameo at the end of SK3-D, Rodriguez managed to film all his scenes over a two-day period before he even started making the film. “We knew he’d be tied up with Nine on Broadway, so in a way it was good. We knew we had to get it all done.”

In SK3-D, the appeal to parents — since the whole movie is basically a video game — is that family comes first. In the movie, Sabara summons his whole family — grandparents, parents, sister, etc. — to his side as if they were members of the Justice League of America (search) helping Superman overcome evil.

“I liked the whole idea of family as super-heroes,” Rodriguez told me. “I’m the third of 10 kids and that’s the way it always was with us. My wife” — producer Elizabeth Avellan — “was in a car accident, and my mother was at the hospital like that. In times of crisis, you can call on family.”

This is the year of Robert Rodriguez, what with SK3-D and then Once Upon a Time in Mexico coming this fall. The latter film has great advance buzz, especially for Johnny Depp. Mexico — like SK3-D — is the final installment of a trilogy. Preceding it were El Mariachi — which cost $7,000 back in 1992 — and Desperado.

So what’s it like to go from a $7,000 budget to a $30 million one?

“It’s basically the same,” Rodriguez said. “I still do most of the work myself. The big costs are all above the line, for the cast.”

And he’s right, he does do most of the work. Rodriguez has six major credits on SK3-D: co-producer, director of photography, production designer, music, music performance and visual effects supervisor.

“When I was a kid,” he said, “I saw a John Carpenter movie where he did everything. I said, 'That’s what I want to do, that would be fun!'”

SK3-D, by the way, is one of four major summer releases from Miramax — all happening more or less right now. The others are Dirty Pretty Things, Buffalo Soldiers and The Magdalene Sisters.

A little overwhelming, no? Of those three, the most compelling drama is the last. On Wednesday night a bunch of swells including Marisa Tomei, Cynthia McFadden and Arnold Scaasi screened this film and then repaired to the Plaza Athenee for dinner. The gang could not stop talking about this movie and eventually the whole dinner turned into a Q&A with the director. I will tell you more about that next week.

Nicole and the Chopper, Part Deux

Even as Nicole Kidman seems to be bailing out of lots of new movies — two by Lars von Trier and one with Brad Pitt — comes an explanation for her arrival in Montauk last weekend.

“She was going to a photo shoot with Bruce Weber (search),” her rep observed this week. “It was for The Human Stain. The pictures are with Ed Harris.”

So that explains it! Nicole and Ed will be in a future issue of Interview magazine, which — as we all know — loves their Kidman.

Weekend Wows

If you’re in London tonight, Sam Moore plays the Jazz Café. Then he hits the Nice, France, jazz festival, where another R&B legend, Wilson Pickett, is scheduled to make an appearance.

Some of us, however, will be in Las Vegas this weekend for the opening of Mariah Carey’s national tour at Caesar’s Palace and Gladys Knight’s knockout show at the Flamingo. It’s a roll of the dice either way!

Viva Las Vegas!