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Look out for more coverage of
Once Upon a Time in Mexico in our magazines

THE MOVIE: Once Upon a Time in Mexico

THE STARS:
Antonio Banderas • Johnny Depp • Eva Mendes • Mickey Rourke
DIRECTOR: Robert Rodriguez

Johnny Depp in Columbia THE CONCEPT:
Third chapter of the El Mariahchi saga, of a legendary singer whose guitar doubles as a lethal weapon. Set during a revolution, El Mariahchi (Antonio Bandares) is forced back into action by a rogue CIA agent named Sands (Johnny Depp)

U.S. RELEASE: September 12 2003, Nationwide
• Rated: R

THE COMMENTS:

ROBERT RODRIGUEZ:
“Quentin Tarantino is the one who put me up to this. When we were doing Desperado he raised the bar and said, ‘You have to do a third movie now, because no one has done this since Sergio Leone. But you’ve got to make the third film epic and you have to call it Once Upon a Time in Mexico.”

ANTONIO BANDERAS:
“I would go to hell and back for Robert if necessary. I’ve done sixty movies, and the only sequels I’ve done have been for Robert. There is a fluidity to the language we share similar to what I had with Pedro Almodovar.”

JOHNNY DEPP:
“Agent Sands is a great manipulator. It’s like playing chess, he’s using all these people as pawns, and putting them all in the position he wants them in. But I think ultimately what Sands wants more than anything is to move all these pieces into a position where it puts him in more danger, that there is the possibility that he could be taken out. I think, that’s what his goal is.”

EVA MENDES (Ajedrez):
“Johnny Depp is one of the most beautiful men I’ve ever seen in my life. When I was a little girl, I had his poster up on my wall from 21 Jump Street. I had a total crush on him. I have to admit that I was a little nervous working with him. He’s the epitome of cool. What really surprised me was how funny he is. I know you get to see it in the movie, but in person he’s really funny as well.”

MICKEY ROURKE (Chambers):
“I saw a scene in one of Robert’s movies, where a gun comes out of a guy’s belt buckle, and I thought, ‘This guy is really out there.’ Robert does the action with humor, and it is intelligent and off the wall. I’m very impressed with him.”

RODRIGUEZ:
“Johnny Depp really doesn’t change a script, he just comes in and takes it to another level. The thing about Johnny is, we’d be on the set and he’d do a scene and I would be constantly checking the script saying, ‘Is that the line?’ And it was the line in the script, but the way he said it I didn’t recognize my own words.”

BANDERAS:
“Robert has boiled everything down to pure action in this film. The character of El Mariachi comes to life through action and movement rather than through dialogue. When he shoots his gun it’s like he’s playing a guitar. They are the same thing to him.”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

Visit the official Once Upon a Time in Mexico site
Images above © Sony Pictures
Feature © 2003 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, #635, September 2003 cover

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