Robert Rodriguez has an intriguingly split career. On one hand, he’s notorious for his balls-to-the-wall grindhouse capers like Desperado, Sin City and Machete. On the other, he’s made bank with the Spy Kids trilogy, popular children’s films released in the early 2000s. Lately, he’s been tending towards the more bloody end of the spectrum, but perhaps he’s swinging back towards family friendly, as it’s just been announced that he’s to direct Ugly Dolls.
Ugly Dolls (or Uglydolls) are cute little stuffed toys who’ve snowballed in popularity since their introduction in 2001, with Babo, Cinko, Ice Bat and the rest making appearances in the backgrounds of Enchanted, The IT Crowd and Zathura – not to mention famously being spotted fixed to Sasha Obama’s backpack on her first day of school in 2009. They come from the ‘uglyverse’ where the ethos is that ‘ugly’ is something special about us that we should celebrate and that we should take pride in the peculiarities that make us who we are.
It’ll be quite the departure from Rodriguez’s current project – the long-delayed adaptation of Yukito Kishiro’s manga Alita: Battle Angel. A pet project of James Cameron until the Avatar films occupied all his time, he’s passed his self-written screenplay to Rodriguez to direct. That’s the tale of an ultra-violent cyborg woman who uses her mechanical superpowers to dispose of criminals in a scrapheap future. The film is set to premiere on July 20th 2018, starring Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connolly and Michelle Rodriguez. After that’s done, the director will presumably be delving deep into the Uglyverse. Let’s hope he finds something worthwhile there.
Ugly Dolls will be released on May 10th, 2019.