The Spy Kids Movies: 10 Behind The Scenes Facts About The Movies

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Over the years, Robert Rodriguez has gifted moviegoers with iconic action films like Desperado, From dusk till dawn, and City of sin. During this same period, the visionary filmmaker was also responsible for several of the most popular children’s films like the Spy on children franchise as well as The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl and its sequel We can be heroes. As part of our ongoing partnership with Plex, which is a great place if you are looking for a place to watch the spy on children movies for free, we’ve put together a list of behind-the-scenes facts about the long-running, star-studded franchise. There are a lot of cinematic facts to break down, so let’s get down to the action…

The cast of Spy Kids

(Image credit: Dimension Films)

Robert Rodriguez edited the first Spy Kids movie in his garage and watched it like a great family movie

It doesn’t matter if you are a fan of Spy on children movies or not, there’s no denying that Robert Rodriguez created something unique in 2001. A lot of that has to do with the amount of blood, sweat, tears, and love that Rodriguez put into the first one. Spy on children film and all the episodes that followed. In an interview in 2001 with The Guardian, Rodriguez explained that to get the most out of his $ 36 million budget, he figured out how to do much of the film himself, saying:

I put it up in my garage, and it had to be personal, otherwise it would be like one of those studio-made kids’ movies that are just awful. It’s a great home movie, basically.

This personal touch and the creative tricks he used throughout production, give Spy on children a unique look and feel, which has helped the film to stand out so much over the past 20 years.

The thumb thumb in Spy Kids

(Image credit: Dimension Films)

The thumbs-thumbs at Spy Kids were first drawn by Robert Rodriguez at the age of 13

Not only did Robert Rodriguez write, direct and edit the first Spy on children movie, it also featured most of the experiences and weird creatures that cross the screen throughout the movie. When you speak with Creative screenwriting in 2015, Rodriguez revealed that he invented Thumb-Thumbs, the robots that serve as personal bodyguards for Fegan Floop (Alan Cumming), at the age of 13. In fact, the original design of the strange characters won Rodriguez his first art competition at the time.

Tony Shalhoub in Spy Kids

(Image credit: Dimension Films)

The extra heads and hands worn by Tony Shalhoub’s character Minion were practical effects

One of the biggest surprises of Spy on children is when Alexander Minion (Tony Shalhoub) is revealed to be the film’s main villain in the epic (and grotesque) face-changing scene. During this pivotal scene, Minion grows three additional faces and additional hands, creating a terrifying monstrosity. During an interview in 2021 with VultureShalhoub explained that the transformation required him to wear a “huge” prosthesis that was at least a foot tall and a foot wide whenever the disfigured character was seen on screen. The actor also recalled that director Robert Rodriguez gave him a tanned version of the mask, which he still has all these years later.

Skeleton pirates in Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams

(Image credit: Dimension Films)

Robert Rodriguez’s goal with Spy Kids 2 was to take Ray Harryhausen on an adventure as Jason and the Argonauts

In Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams, Carmen (Alexa Vega) and Juni Cortez (Daryl Sabara) meet Romero (Steve Buscemi), a scientist who has created various small creatures in hopes of giving children miniature zoos. These designs, which aren’t as small as Romero originally designed, were inspired by one of Robert Rodriguez’s heroes: the late great Ray Harryhausen, who created some of the most iconic monsters on screen throughout his legendary career. In an interview in 2002 with SciFi.com, Rodriguez admitted that he always dreamed of going on an adventure in the vein of Jason and the Argonauts and the Sinbad movies, and Spy Kids 2 was his perfect opportunity as he found a way to recreate the stop-motion look through digital animation.

Ricardo Montalbán in Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams

(Image credit: Dimension Films)

A screening of Wrath Of Khan at the Quentin Tarantino film festival led Ricardo Montalbán to cast Spy Kids 2

Ricardo Montalbán first joined the franchise with Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams, in which he was introduced as the grandfather of Carmen and Juni Cortez, Valentin Avellan. Speaking with Creative Screenwriting in 2015, Robert Rodriguez revealed that he first thought about picking the actor for the role after watching a screening of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan during a film festival hosted by Quentin Tarantino in Austin, Texas. Montalbán had largely avoided acting since 1990 due to lingering issues from a traumatic back injury decades earlier, but Rodriguez told him he wouldn’t have to worry because his character was in a flying wheelchair (and later in a digitized suit of armor).

Bill Paxton in Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams

(Image credit: Dimension Films)

One of the major changes made by Robert Rodriguez between the first and the second part of the spy on children franchise was the decision to start shooting with high definition digital video instead of a movie, and it mostly has to do with George Lucas. Speaking with SciFi.com in 2002, Rodriguez recalled the day Lucas invited him to go see the first footage of Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones and how the experience changed the way he viewed digital video. Shortly after this screening, Rodriguez decided to conduct an experiment while doing covers on the first Spy on children film in which he would shoot the same scene on film then on video and then compare the two. Rodriguez was so impressed with the look of the video footage that he decided to stick with the medium for the future.

Sylvester Stallone in Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over

(Image credit: Dimension Films)

Sylvester Stallone helped come up with many ideas for the multiple personalities of his 3D Spy Kids character

There is a scene in Spy Kids 3-D: End of the game in which the villain of the film, The Toymaker (Sylvester Stallone) has a conversation with three different versions of himself, creating a wacky, out-of-this-world interaction. In a 2003 interview with Independent LondonRobert Rodriguez revealed that Stallone himself helped come up with many ideas behind the three distinct personalities on set, adding that it was a cool experience to see the legendary Hollywood star try out a bunch of different things in the middle of the shoot. . Rodriguez also admitted that it was nice to see Stallone getting so excited and having so much fun with the experience.

George Clooney in Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over

(Image credit: Dimension Films)

Sylvester Stallone couldn’t tell the difference between George Clooney’s impression of him and his own voice in Spy Kids 3-D

There is a scene near the beginning of Spy Kids 3-D: End of the game in which it appears that the former director of the OSS and current President of the United States Diego Devlin (George Clooney) speaks with the heroes of the film to reveal himself to be The Toymaker announcing his intention to escape a highly cyber prison. secure. During the scene, Clooney makes an impressive impression of Sylvester stallone, so impressive in fact, Stallone couldn’t tell the difference, as Robert Rodriguez recalled in an interview with Indie London:

I knew I had a transition between the two, because I had already shot [Sylvester] Stallone, and I knew he was a great impersonator, so I asked [George Clooney] start doing his [Stallone’s voice] and I said I was going to put the two voices together and transform them, and that take at the end is the first one he did in front of the camera. You can see he is engaging in it, and he couldn’t believe how much he looked like Stallone. That’s why he just started to laugh. Even Stallone had to ask if it was his voice or George’s.

The scene, which is admittedly pretty cool all these years later, shows George Clooney not only lowering Sylvester Stallone’s voice, but all the cadence and other minor details.

Casting of The Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over

(Image credit: Dimension Films)

Spy Kids 3-D was shot almost entirely on a green screen, which required a new technique

Released several years before the 3D trend made a comeback in cinema, Spy Kids 3-D: End of the game used technology to better tell his cyberspace-based story (with the help of these special glasses). The process was made difficult by Robert Rodriguez’s decision to shoot most of the film on green screens, with the actors being the only real thing on set. According to Hybride Technologies, the Quebec firm responsible for creating the 3D effects of the film, the artists developed a technology that pushed parts of images into the background while drawing others into the foreground, creating the illusion of 3D in a new and unique way.

Rowan Blanchard and Mason Cook in Spy Kids: All the Time in the World

(Image credit: The Weinstein Company)

Robert Rodriguez was inspired by a John Waters movie to add the Aromascope to Spy Kids 4-D

The fourth and last installment (for now, anyway) of the franchise, Spy Kids: all the time in the world took things to the next level when it released in the summer of 2011 by not only introducing new heroes, but also telling its story in 4-D. The big gimmick in the movie was the use of “Aromascope” which allowed moviegoers to use scratch and sniff cards to smell different smells and aromas throughout the movie. In a 2011 interview with CinemaBlend, Robert Rodriguez revealed that he was inspired by the John Waters film Polyester which used similar scratch and snort cards in the 1980s. After that, Rodriguez and his team designed cards that were handed out in theaters as well as in DVD boxes when the movie was released at home.

After reading all these Spy on children behind the scenes facts, it’s easy to see that the franchise is something that matters a lot to Robert Rodriguez. The first three Spy on children the movies are currently streamed for free on Plex.


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