It’s been 18 years since two sadistic criminals on the run entered a Mexican bar packed with blood-sucking vampires in the cult-classic, “From Dusk Till Dawn.”
The movie became so popular that since its release, in 1996, the film’s director Robert Rodriguez and its writer Quentin Tarantino have been approached many times to make the action horror flick into a TV series. But they always passed on the offers because they just did not have the time to fully commit to the development of a full series.
Starting tonight, fans of the vampire thriller will be able to relive the story, the characters, the history, the myth and the fun once again in a 10-episode series that will debut on Rodriguez’s new TV network, El Rey.
“It seemed like the right time and right place to do (the story) justice and to do it right,” Rodriguez told Fox News Latino recently about his network. “It’s really cool to go back and bring these characters to life again and expand their story – have new characters enter in and see what happened to the characters in the original. It’s just a blast.”
Like the movie, the T.V. show will center around bank-robbing brothers, Seth (D.J. Cotrona) and Richard “Richie” Gecko (Zane Holtz), and their infamous night with Santanico Pandemonium (Eiza Gonzalez) and her vampire pals at a strip club. In the movie, these characters were played by George Clooney, Tarantino and Salma Hayek, respectively.
“Quentin Tarantino writes the best characters in the world, so to have them live and breathe in a series – it’s real cool because we’ve never done television,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez, who directed about half of the season and was heavily involved in the directing of the other episodes, said the cast, which also includes Wilmer Valderrama (“That 70s Show”), Don Johnson (“Machete”) and Brandon Soo Hoo (“Tropic Thunder”), jelled together very well. He called them “magical.”
“We had such a great cast the first time, that set the bar really high that we couldn’t settle for anything less on this,” said Rodriguez, gushing about the stars, particularly about actress Eiza Gonzalez, who had to fill the shoes of Salma Hayek. “She is an amazing, amazing girl.”
Gonzalez, a Mexican actress who is now becoming a crossover star, was thrown into the Hollywood limelight last year after she was rumored to be dating actor Liam Hemsworth following his very public split with singer-actress Miley Cyrus.
Rodriguez, who is currently in post-production for the next installment of the “Sin City” films, out in August, said it was the right time to bring “From Dusk Till Dawn” to the small screen. And, it allows his three-month-old network to make a splash.
“El Rey is a new network (and) I didn’t want to have a show that people never heard of on a network nobody ever heard of,” he said. “So to kind of help it out, I wanted to start with a show that had name value.”
The director added it was the most expandable of the stories he had to work with and they had built in a trajectory into this pre-historic, pre-Christianity world.
“(‘From Dusk Till Dawn’) was a fan favorite,” he said. “A lot of fans were coming up to me and Quentin saying ‘Dusk Till Dawn! We watch it all the time!’ It’s really built a following over the years.”
He said they had left several hints during the film that allowed them to expand on the story and its characters.
“The whole pyramid at the end was a way to show the evidence that there is more story there,” Rodriguez said. “Well, now we get to do these and explore what it’s all about.”
“From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series” premieres tonight at 9 p.m. on El Rey network.