Robert Rodriguez is one busy guy – the director recently launched the El Rey television network and is currently working on the second season of From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series, but he’s simultaneously guiding multiple projects to the big screen, including an adaptation of beloved animated series Jonny Quest.
At the TCAs to discuss From Dusk Till Dawn, Rodriguez fielded a question about why he decided to tackle Jonny Quest:
“I thought it’d be really cool to do a legitimate action/adventure film that just happens to have a kid in it. Not a kids film; the Spy Kids were more like kids films, this would be like a real action-adventure film because that’s what the original series was like. It was a hard hitting, kickass action-adventure series. That’s what enticed me to go do it. My own series had already played out. That was a cool property still that the studio had. I thought I would go see what they thought of it and they were really into it.”
Though Spy Kids went progressively downhill as it got weirder and more toothless, that series started out as a fun, kinetic piece of popcorn entertainment for the whole family. Rodriguez cautioned interviewers, however, that Jonny Quest is a different kind of animal altogether:
It’d be different from anything that I’ve done. I’ve never done anything really that wasn’t either a really small little kid type movie or a more violent action film. This would be like doing a James Bond/Indiana Jones movie. Imagine you’re a kid and James Bond is your bodyguard and your dad is Indiana Jones. It’s one of those movies and you just happen to be in it.
Rodriguez is incredibly good at piloting his own stories from idea to franchise, with El Mariachi, Spy Kids, Machete and From Dusk Till Dawn all under his belt. Jonny Quest is also a change of pace for the director in that it is an existing property Rodriguez aims to put a unique spin on:
There are just so few properties that are interesting. I’ve always wanted to do one because you learn a lot. Doing a studio project like that, you would learn something that you would bring back to something that you do on a smaller scale. You have a bigger budget than I would normally work with. So I was always looking for a franchise. I knew Dan Lin a long time. He did Lego Movie, he’s a producer, he did a movie with me called Shorts. Years and years ago he brought me Jonny Quest. I was like, ‘You know, I have my own series. I’m doing the Spy Kids movies.’ Once those played out, he came back again recently and said, ‘What about Jonny Quest?’ I’m still a huge Jonny Quest fan. My kids still watch Jonny Quest. They’re still so into it. I turned them onto it when they were little and now they’re 17, 18, and 12 but they still love it.
The helmer says that Jonny Quest is a priority right now and that he is on the verge of turning in a finished script. As for the tone of the project, Rodriguez would be content with either a PG or PG-13 rating, given that his take involves a lot of action that may not sit well with the MPAA. Given Rodriguez’s track record, it wouldn’t be too surprising for him to go a bit overboard with the violence, but watching the helmer tackle a through-and-through action-adventure like this should be a blast nonetheless.