The first episode Robert Rodriguez’s new TV series of his and Quentin Tarantino’s 1996 cult classic From Dusk Till Dawn hits Netflix today, as the outlaw Gecko brothers heading to Mexico in a hail of bullets only to find themselves surrounded by vampires, as well as the law.
“We’re trying not to use the v-word,” DJ Cotrona, who stars Seth Gecko (previously played by George Clooney), exclusively tells SciFiNow, “But people will see that it’s not really a vampire thing.”
Still, just because we aren’t using the v-word, doesn’t mean that there won’t be monsters tearing people’s throats out.
“There will be blood,” he laughs. “Horror is supposed to be horrifying and terrifying and that’s what we’re doing here. Greg Nicotero who did the original effects on the film and is now one of the producers on The Walking Dead, he’s prolific and he’s doing all this stuff for us, and it’s fantastic because it’s really scary.”
Cotrona and his co-star Zane Holtz are stepping into the shoes of Clooney and Quentin Tarantino as Seth and Richie Gecko. The former needs to portray the sub-zero cool of the A-lister, while Richie is an unpredictable psychopath. There’s a lot of expectation on the part of the fans, but both actors tell us that they tried to put the pressure out of their minds and create their own versions of the characters.
“I tried to not go into my creation with any sort of notion of that,” explains Holtz. “I intentionally didn’t watch the film before auditioning or meeting with Robert when I was going through the process of trying to get the job, and then once I had the job I allowed myself to watch the film but I felt like I had already kind of created whatever I had created.
“I don’t think I’d be servicing either the show or fans of the original if I were to do a Quentin impression.”
“It can’t be ignored, obviously,” agrees Cotrona. “And it was, to be quite honest, pretty scary at first, initially when someone tells you ‘Hey, you know, would you like to try to step into this role?’ But two things made me feel good about it. The first is that this isn’t another director doing an interpretation of what Robert and George Clooney did on the first film, this is Robert revisiting his own work, so if Robert likes what I do and asks me to come play this character for him then I feel very confident that together we’ll be able to do a good version of it.”
With the show appearing on Netflix worldwide the day after broadcasting on Rodriguez’s own El Rey network in the States, it means that the fan pressure will be global, but Holtz couldn’t be more excited.
“It will continue to be available within 24 hours after airing here, it’ll just keep updating on Netflix, which I think is great. It seems like there’s usually a big break in time between airing in the States and coming to other territories, but we’ve gone from, OK, we’re gonna be on El Rey, it’s really great – and now all of a sudden it’s gonna be worldwide immediately, it’s very exciting.”
Obviously the pressure won’t just be on the two actors. With such a fondly remembered film, there will be some pretty high expectations for Rodriguez and his cast. However, Cotrona urges fans to give it a chance and to have faith in its creator.
“We expand so much further, the backstory, and moving forward, about halfway through the season we entirely become our own thing and we move well past the film so I just hope that people will keep an open mind.”
“You learn a lot more about the characters’ backstory,” adds Holtz. “In addition to telling the narrative of the two brothers trying to make their way to El Rey there is a non-linear sort of flashback tool used to show the storytelling and show where maybe Richie was before they got together and he broke Seth out of prison, there was a lot that people had to assume or just heard about in the film that you’ll actually physically get to see created on screen so that’ll be interesting for people.”
Finally, Cotrona reminds us of one very important fact: For Robert Rodriguez fans, this is an opportunity to get a weekly dose of his work.
“If you’re a fan of Robert’s and a fan of Quentin’s characters, and this world, then this is an opportunity for you to live in it as an audience for a much longer time, and I hope people enjoy it.”
From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series is available to watch now on Netflix UK.