Musician Bob Schneider and filmmaker Robert Rodriguez were two local legends destined to cross paths in Austin, the chilled-out city they love to call home. Naturally, when they finally did, a breezy, fast and loose music video was the result. For “40 Dogs (Like Romeo and Juliet),” the first single off Schneider’s latest album “Lovely Creatures,” Rodriguez took a weekend off from his wild post-production schedules on “Predators” and “Machete,” called up actress Kat Dennings (“Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist,” “Shorts”) and took to the streets to film it.
Although reuniting the two on the phone proved more difficult — I spoke to each of them separately when a conference call was thwarted — thanks to the magic of editing, it’s as if we were all there at the same time talking about how cool Austin is, how Schneider’s music became Rodriguez’s personal soundtrack on “Predators” and why Rodriguez would have to kill Schneider if they didn’t work together on something.
But first, here’s the exclusive premiere of “40 Dogs (Like Romeo and Juliet)”:
How did you two come to work together on this video, do you know each other from Austin?
Robert Rodriguez: Yeah, I know him from Austin. Bob and I met a few times over the years. I worked with his producer a lot on [film] scores, I was producing more of them locally, using local musicians. I would always buy Bob’s albums — I dug that he stayed in Austin. When this last album came out, “Lovely Creatures,” I took it with me on location to Hawaii to go shoot “Predators.” It was the only CD I had, so I was listening to it a lot! [laughs] It’s a terrific album. When I came back, I invited him to see my Troublemaker Studios, ’cause I realized I had never invited him over.
Bob, we know Robert is a versatile filmmaker, but when I think of him, I don’t think of “Spy Kids.” I think of blood and guns, of “El Mariachi” and “Sin City.” Did you think Robert had the chops for something sweet and romantic?
Bob Schneider: Actually, I wasn’t really thinking sweet and romantic when this whole video process began. He told me a little bit about his new movie “Machete” — there are posters of the movie up on the walls [at his studio] and it looked like fun. I’d seen the trailer, of course, in “Grindhouse,” and the idea that I had was to see if he’d be interested in editing some of the footage from “Machete” into a video for “40 Dogs.”
RR: And I said, “Oh, you don’t have a video? Why don’t we just make one that actually goes with the song!” [laughs] People usually make videos that have nothing to do with the music whatsoever, so why don’t you just tell that story, or have that feeling that you get when you listen to the music.
Robert, did you bring in this generational theme — analog versus digital, 16mm projector versus iPhone — to the video?
RR: Yeah, I wanted to mix different mediums. I have my old wind-up film camera that I shot my first film “Bedhead” with, and that’s the one he’s using. Bob represents “older guy” like myself; I was just projecting myself in there even though I’m high-tech — I have old-fashioned values. He really likes this girl, who’s more evolved. He’s kept his son under wraps until the time is right. And she being more evolved just accepts him right away. I wanted that to be a layer of it, not so much about the technology, but more about how much more the younger generation is willing to accept things.
The kid in the video is great. Is that Bob’s son or Robert’s? I know how you operate.
RR: Bob’s son has very, very blond hair, so I thought, that might not look like he’s your son! I told my son, “Hey, go stand next to Bob, say hello to your new dad.” [laughs] So that’s my son. This one hadn’t been in anything yet, so he was excited.
What did you do to prepare for this? Aside from listening to the song while shooting “Predators,” which is hilarious.
RR: [laughs] Exactly. I usually have a couple of projects going on that are different. A “Sin City” while I’m doing a “Spy Kids” at the same time. I need different things going on. On this one, a bottleneck of two very hard, R-rated movies [“Predators” and “Machete”], I needed a palate cleanser and this really helped right in the middle when I needed it.
The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.
But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)
It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.
A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.
This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.
The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.
It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.
Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at IFC.com
Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.
Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.
Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk
Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.
Lane 33: Twins
You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.
Lane 27: Broken Windows
Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.
Lane 69: Filthy Cars
You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.
Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles
It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.
Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.