''Spy Kids'' takes on the Internet
Director Robert Rodriguez wants to use the film's website to teach kids about special effects
As if writing, directing, and editing the bratty sleuth hit ”Spy Kids” weren’t enough, Robert Rodriguez is also masterminding the movie’s website. Designed to simulate the gadget happy feel of the film, it lets visitors access the OSS Database, glide underwater in a Super Guppy, and page through the essential ”Spy Manual.” And while most movie sites go into hibernation after the opening weekend, Rodriguez says the digital arm of his franchise is just now getting exciting. We asked him to leak us some of the top secret details.
What will you add to the site between now and the sequel next summer?
I get certain questions from adult interviewers, but kids ask me different questions completely. One interviewer was actually an 11 year old. She thought a lot of what happened on the screen was real. She said, ”Did you really drop the little boy?” I was like, I need to create a little film school for kids. I’m going to start filtering a lot of that on the website so that people can come figure out how to make their own home movies. There were a lot of home movie type techniques in this thing. I mean, I edited it in my garage.
There are over 500 special effects in the film. How did you do all that from your garage?
The first thing you would normally do is hire a Hollywood effects supervisor to come in. I didn’t hire that person. I have a computer hooked up to the Internet so I can communicate with the company I used, called Hybride. They did the effects for me in ”The Faculty,” and they did 95 percent of the effects for ”Spy Kids” all from a little house outside of Montreal. And I could see them, and they could see me on the computer. It’s like videoconference, but really cool, because we shared a tablet so I could draw on a shot we were watching in real time and say, ”Oh, no, this plane has to go that way.” I could just cut out all the middlemen and get it done so much cheaper and faster that way.
Are your kids making movies yet?
My oldest kid is only 5. But whenever we go to the park, I’ll film it like an action movie. And then we’ll come home and add special effects and sound effects and then watch it. Their memories are completely altered. They think bumper cars sound like a demolition derby now, because I added sound effects and music to it, and it just sounds like we’re slamming and crashing. When they go back and ride in the bumper cars again, they’re going to be so disappointed that it’s silent.