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'Machete' Will Solve The Immigration Debate

Fred Topel Fred Topel
August 31st, 2010 10:30am EDT

Machete-Immigration-Debate

You know Machete is going to take out the bad guys. You can tell by the name, and the image of Danny Trejo wearing a trench coat full of machetes. You might not have known that he’s also going to solve the immigration debate.

“There are real issues going on in just about any movie that’s got fun elements to it,” writer/director Robert Rodriguez said. “This is just something that’s very current. It really polarizes people because it is a real issue. People want to see an answer. Our answer, in the movie, is Machete because it is such a huge problem, not that he’s even trying to solve it. It’s just part of the background. So I wanted a character that was almost superhuman, almost like Rambo, who was the only one that can make sense of it. In reality, I don’t know if anyone is really willing to step up and do it. You create superheroes to take care of problems that can’t really be solved another way. That was the purpose of Machete. He’s this federal agent who’s incorruptible in Mexico and is forced to come live as a day laborer in the States. It just seemed like the natural progression of story that should happen was to have him deal with more corruption on this side than even he was used to. He’s got a huge job ahead of him that’s going to span several movies, for him to be able to sort anything out.”

The plot of Machete involves an anti-immigration senator, border patrol and a conspiracy to frame the Mexican day laborers. “The characters all have their point of view in the movie, and the only reason they’re doing things, and doing them in such polar opposite ways, is because there’s no system. It really just points to the fact that there’s no system and a system has to be created, or people will create their own system because you’re ignoring the problem. It always points back to government. They could avoid all of this, if they just did something. And then, from that, we go into our other storyline. It’s just a backdrop to show that here is a problem that exists and will continue to exist until somebody does something about it.”

Maybe Glen Beck can have a say and they’ll get some extra publicity with conservatives protesting their movie. “Personally, I just think it’s really hard to take it seriously. It’s just great timing to see that it has to do with issues that are real because you watch it with a different eye. If it wasn’t a hot topic right now, you would watch it and not think much about it. It would just be normal backdrop. I think you can tell, when you’re watching it, that it’s done in a huge sense of fun. It’s supposed to make you feel like, ‘Wow, some of this isn’t that far off the mark.’ As much as I tried to make it as made up as possible, you couldn’t escape the fact that reality is stranger than fiction. A lot of these things, I thought were just good subplots and good twists, and then I would find out, through research, that they were true. I think it just gives it another layer than makes it really fun.”

Rodriguez thought of immigration as an evergreen issue. Now that the movie is coming out, it seems planned. “I just wanted to put a story on it and that’s always pretty relevant. There’s always something like this going on. But, just recently, it became even more relevant and gave this other layer of entertainment to it. I wanted to use that as a backdrop to show some real corruption that actually goes on that’s just hard to battle. It’s so difficult, in fact, that no one really wants to talk about that or touch it. People talk about immigration, but they won’t talk about the corruption that actually exists between Mexico and the U.S. The fabric just needed to feel very epic and very big, and it needed a lot of twists and turns. It was really more driven by, how can you make the most fun story, taking something that is real on the surface, and then jumping into the level of Superman beyond that.”

Machete opens Friday.

Photo Credits: Twentieth Century Fox