The idea! I mean really, the very idea of turning 1996's From Dusk Till Dawn into a television series? How could anyone get behind that? Well, during SxSW, we got the chance to sit down with series creator (who also directed the film on which the show is based) as well as a few members of his cast. Frankly, after this discussion, we found ourselves rather excited for From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series, and we could think of at least five reasons why you should be too.
1.) There is way more to this story than one movie could contain
Most of the trepidation toward this series, and toward all TV shows based on popular films is the fear that the attempts to expand a compartmentalized universe will result in diminishing returns on the worth of the concept. However, the film From Dusk Till Dawn never felt compartmentalized, and in fact it seemed as if we were all coming in at the midpoint of a story in progress. There is plenty to be mined from how the Gecko brothers arrived at the film's first act and beyond.
Not only that, but Rodriguez revealed that there were large sections of Quentin's original Dusk Till Dawn script that didn't make it into the final cut of the movie. That means that even the film version as it exists now is not the full story. Much of the appeal here will be getting to, as Robert put it, "hang out with the brothers for a lot more time." Rodriguez also mentioned that they are already thinking several seasons ahead so the plan was never to be one-and-done with the storytelling. "You keep coming up with more stuff, it's a living document," he said of the show, "I've heard stuff as far out as season five."
2.) It takes place in real time
The proposed structure of this series may not be groundbreaking, but it is entirely intriguing given the subject matter. Rodriguez told us that From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series will take place in real time over a twelve-hour period. That means that, at least the first season, actually takes place from dusk until dawn. It's the kind of thing that made shows like 24 so compelling. However, just when you think that structure might limit the narrative capacity of the series, Rodriguez assured us that devices are in place to get around that.
"Through flashback you see other events that you had only heard about before, or new events dating from childhood forward. So you get a big, sprawling adventure."
3.) The actors aren't doing impressions of their silver screen counterparts
Honestly, if all we could expect from our series leads were impressions of and 's Gecko brothers, you could count me out of this project immediately. However, speaking with actors and (who play Seth and Richie Gecko respectively on the show), it seems as though this was not at all Rodriguez's aim when casting.
"[Robert] empowers you," D.J. told us, "to do what your instinct tells you to do as an actor, that's what he wants from you." Zane added that Rodriguez "inspires his actors to be fully creative."
This sentiment was further echoed by the lovely Eiza Gonzalez who plays the small-screen iteration of the vampire vixen Santanico Pandemonium. "He trusts whatever you do," Gonzalez said of Robert, "he lets you play with [the character] and doesn't tell you what to do."
4.) The blood will not be watered-down
If you're a fan of the film From Dusk Till Dawn, then you're aware that it didn't exactly shy away from the gore. Hell, it was so splatter-tastic that some of the leading luminaries in the field of practical effects ( and Greg Nicotero) appear as characters in the movie! With the move to television, there might be a temptation to assume that the violence will have to be watered-down. Not so, says Rodriguez...
"Shows like Walking Dead have shown that with cable you can get away with a lot if you're on at a certain time and put a warning at the beginning."
Remember, this is going to be on Rodriguez's own network El Rey, so there won't be any executives telling him what he can and cannot do. However, and this is equally important, the freedom to be gory does not appear to mean that the From Dusk Till Dawn series will be obnoxiously violent.
"We don't have to make that the draw, we don't have to kill fifty people. The characters are so good that they stand on their own. We have the scares and the freaky stuff happening, and when it comes it really works. But it feels natural and cathartic because you're not beaten over the head with it."
5.) The cameos
One of the things I most enjoyed about From Dusk Till Dawn (the film) were the appearances of classic genre mainstays in cameo roles. Fred "The Hammer" Williamson comes to mind. When we asked Rodriguez if that was an aspect of the movie he would be bringing to the show, he enthusiastically confirmed.
"There's great actors whom I've always wanted to work with, some that I've worked with before who come play different roles here."
Maybe Clooney will show up after all.
We're sold, how about you?