Robert Rodriguez's El Rey is still a fledgling network, but because it's so young it's still exactly what he wants it to be. At the 2014 summer TV press tour, Rodriguez revealed that the network is going to be bulking up its programming with the new series "Matador" and a larger arsenal of movies.
"I think people are going to really enjoy ['Matador'] a lot. It's different, and it's a really high quality show," he tells Zap2it of the soccer action drama. With America just coming down from its biggest interest in the World Cup in recent years, Rodriguez admits, "We came up with this a year ago, and [producer Roberto Orci] and I were like, 'Should we make it soccer?' ... And then soccer takes off, and we look like geniuses because we had predicted it, but we didn't know -- and it didn't matter."
As for the films, Rodriguez talks about having El Rey show lesser known movies that are curated by the network's team and guest filmmakers. One such filmmaker who Rodriguez mentions is his close friend Quentin Tarantino, who seems to have inspired the shift.
"We wanted the network to be that cool friend who turns you on to stuff, especially movies that you wouldn't know until you watch," he says, acknowledging Tarantino is that "cool friend" to him. The films are "not the normal ones that you would just see; the ones that are popular that everybody knows about. They're the ones that you're like, 'Tell me what the cool one is so I don't waste my time.'"
Tarantino commented in March that he could see his film "Django Unchained" being told as a cable miniseries, and Rodriguez admits that he reached out to Tarantino after hearing those statements to let him know a "Django" show would have a home on El Rey. "I did write him and say, 'Hey, if you ever want to do that, El Rey would want to throw it's hat in the ring to at least try for that.' He said, 'Keep that in mind,'" Rodriguez recalls.
Just don't expect that project to happen any time soon. "I know he's working on his next film. That's going to pretty much consume him for the next year. Maybe after that. I'll ask him," Rodriguez says. "He knows he could. He knows the door's open if he suddenly wanted to do television. I think we'd have a good shot, but you never know. It depends what it is."
After "Matador" and the "From Dusk Till Dawn" TV series, Rodriguez has a gem of an idea for a third original series he's been dying to make. He's just not ready to talk about it yet.
"I've been thinking about it for a while. I'm not sure if that's the one we'll ultimately do, but there's one that just keeps bugging me. We'll start thinking about talking about it," he says. "It's so precious and in the early stages that you talk yourself right out of it. I haven't figured it out enough yet. I mean, I have a pretty good idea, but I have a little bit of time. We don't have to decide that for another much."
Rodriguez says he's been really proud of the quality of television El Rey has been producing, which viewers will see once again when "Matador" premieres on July 15.
"We spend as much as other networks, but in Texas it goes a lot further the way we shoot. It looks like we just spent the farm and did up these shows nice. Quentin would call me once in a while, because he would see another 'Dusk Till Dawn' [episode]: 'I don't mean this to be a backhanded compliment or anything, but that's the best thing you've directed in a long time,'" Rodriguez shares with a laugh.
"Matador" premieres Tuesday, July 15 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on El Rey.
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