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Opening Night – The Long Journey of Hollywood’s First Mexican Superhero, Machete

Actor Danny Trejo and writer-director Robert Rodriguez have worked together since the days of Rodriguez’s Desperado, where Trejo played knife-wielding bad guy Navajas.

During the shooting of that film, Rodriguez mentioned to Trejo the idea of a movie based on a Mexican superhero he created named Machete, who also has an arsenal of sharp objects at his disposal.

Over a decade later Rodriguez brought his superhero to life when he spent three weeks shooting a fake Machete trailer, which ran in 2007’s Grindhouse. The trailer became one of the most popular segments in the film, so much so that when Trejo was in England after the film’s release he saw guys with Machete tattooed on their backs. After seeing his likeness permanently inked on skin, Trejo e-mailed Rodriguez from England, saying, “We better make this movie.”

Fans continually lobbied Rodriguez to make a feature film based on the unusual character and story they saw in the trailer. He soon decided to write and direct (along with co-writer Alvaro Rodriguez and co-director Ethan Maniquis) a “Mexploitation” film about Machete that would answer questions posed in the fake trailer. As Rodriguez put it in our AMC News interview, he had to “reverse engineer” the story in the film to make sense of what fans saw in Grindhouse.

Rodriguez told AMC News correspondent Jacob Soboroff that Machete is Hollywood’s first Mexican superhero — one that fans were curiously drawn to, saying, “There have been Blaxploitation movies before, why not Mexploitation movies? So I think they thought the novelty of it was fantastic.”

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