As the largest genre film festival in the country, Fantastic Fest makes Austin the place to be for fans of extreme cinema. Opening night Thursday brought the world premiere of Robert Rodriguez's "Machete Kills" to the Alamo Drafthouse Lakeline.
Much of the local cast was on hand, and while some of the A-list celebrities were absent from the red carpet, Rodriguez told stories of how he recruited Mel Gibson, Lady Gaga, Sofia Vergara and Charlie Sheen to join the sequel's cast.
"I chased Mel down. I saw a list on names for that part and thought Mel was the only one that excited me and he was in Austin promoting his film 'Get the Gringo,'" Rodriguez said. "I came to the Drafthouse, raided the red carpet, said hi, got a photo op, snuck off with him behind the scenes while he waited for the movie start and I just talked to him non-stop until he said yes."
Leading man Danny Trejo said some of his real life dialogue with Rodriguez turned into one of the film's catch phases.
"I was trying to get a hold of him and I couldn't, finally when I find him I said, 'Robert why don't pick up your phone?' He said, 'I'm always in a meeting Danny just text me.' I said, 'Machete don't text,' and he put it in the movie," Trejo said.
Alexa Vega is one of several cast members who frequently appear in Rodriguez's films who return in "Machete Kills."
"Austin is a place that I grew up," Vega said. "This was our sixth film together here and I think this whole town has been very supportive of Robert's filmmaking and everything that we've done--down to the crew members to the store owners who let us shut down streets to let us film until the late hours of the night, so this is the perfect place."