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Vega called Rodriguez, looking for a role different from the "nice-girl kid parts" she was offered by Hollywood producers who only knew her as cute little Carmen Cortez.
"It’s the curse of being a Spy Kid — you’ve got too much baggage," Rodriguez said.
Cast as one of Vergara’s henchwomen, Rodriguez said, Vega "came full bore and got the most bodacious outfit" — essentially a teeny bikini, a pair of chaps and a big gun. A photo of Vega from the set was leaked, and "it changed her image instantly on the Internet," he said. "It was like night and day."
It’s not the first time Rodriguez has been responsible for an image makeover. He cast George Clooney, then known only as the nice-guy doctor on "ER," as a cold killer in "From Dusk Till Dawn." And he gave Vega’s "Spy Kids" mom, Carla Gugino, a sexy role in "Sin City."
Rodriguez has other projects in the works — he’s editing "Sin City 2" and launching an action-adventure TV channel called El Rey — but the idea of a third "Machete" movie, joked about in a coming-attractions trailer before "Machete Kills," is still out there.
"This is all audience-driven," Rodriguez said. "I thought we were done with the first trailer."
Sean P. Means, for the moment, writes The Cricket in daily blog form at www.sltrib.com/blogs/moviecricket. Follow him on Twitter @moviecricket, or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/seanpmeans. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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