On the surface, Marissa Cortez Wilson (Jessica Alba) has it all...married to a famous spy hunting television reporter, a new baby and intelligent twin stepkids. But in reality, trying to mother Rebecca (Rowan Blanchard) and Cecil (Mason Cook), who clearly don't want her around, is her toughest challenge yet. Also, her husband, Wilbur (Joel McHale), wouldn't know a spy if he lived with one, which
is exactly the case - Marissa's a retired secret agent. Marissa's world is turned upside down when the maniacal Timekeeper (Jeremy Piven) threatens to take over the planet and she's called back into action by the head of OSS, home of the greatest spies and where the now‐defunct Spy Kids division was created. With Armageddon quickly approaching, Rebecca and Cecil are thrust into action when they learn their boring stepmom was once a top agent and now the world's most competitive ten year olds are forced to put their bickering aside and rely on their wits. With a little help from a couple of familiar Spy Kids, Carmen (Alexa Vega) and Juni Cortez (Daryl Sabara), and some mind‐blowing gadgets, they just may be able to save the world and possibly bring their family together while they're at it.
About the Story
In 2001, filmmaker Robert Rodriguez introduced a groundbreaking new film to audiences, SPY KIDS, a live action, gadget filled comedy adventure where seemingly average kids become mini spies and families are heroes. From that grew a series of revered sequels ("Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams," "Spy Kids 3D: Game Over") that families loved and related to. The SPY KIDS films brought to life fun, action‐packed stories rooted in reality with the universal message that family is important.
Ten years after the original, Rodriguez brings us back to the world of Spy Kids introducing cool new spies, the return of beloved characters and mind blowing gadgets. In addition this newest installment will introduce 4D Aromascope to bring a new generation of moviegoers an interactive, adventure packed film that is fun for the whole family.
With each individual admission ticket, kids and parents will also receive an Aromascope card that is free of charge with easy to read numbers outlined. As the numbers flash on the movie screen the audience will rub the corresponding number on their card. When each of the 8 aromas are unleashed you will get to experience a special moment in the film and be transported into scenes in the family adventure film. This fun added attraction brings extra laughs and enhances the film to introduce something new and entertaining for families.
As Time Goes By
As the tenth anniversary was nearing, Rodriguez began to consider revisiting the classic series with a fresh, innovative take. He explains, "Over the years, I've been approached by families who say the films were some of their children's favorites and they watch them over and over again." The concept began to take shape in 2009 during the filming of Rodriguez's "Machete" with his frequent collaborator and friend, actress Jessica Alba. Rodriguez explains, "I saw Jessica changing her baby's exploding diaper and got the idea to cast her as a spy mom. I got excited about it and started writing the part for her and coming up with the idea to revitalize the series with a new set of kids."
Another theme present in Rodriguez's mind was time and how there never seems to be enough hours in the day to spend with his family. "As I watch my kids, I want to stop and freeze time so I can enjoy them longer before they grow up and move out of the house. I had this idea for a villain who is trying to take other people's time away so he can use it to go back in time," he explains.
Bringing back the much beloved characters of Carmen and Juni Cortez further expanded on the concept of time passing. We now meet up with them several years later as they return to guide and teach the new spy kids about everything they've learned. Rodriguez explains, "Seeing how Carmen and Juni have developed and grown ended up really working into the theme of time passing."
Rodriguez's producing partner, Elizabeth Avellan was excited about the idea as well. She enthuses, "It's great to have a storyline that organically brings back Carmen and Juni. It will introduce a whole new generation to the magic that is Spy Kids."
Rodriguez found his new spies in relatively unknown actors ‐ nine year old Rowan Blanchard ("Dance A Lot Robot") and eleven year old Mason Cook ("Raising Hope"). Of Blanchard who plays prankster Rebecca Wilson, Rodriguez recalls, "Rowan just had this sparkle. I knew she was the gal as soon as she walked in. She had a lot of energy and an unusual take on the characterization of Rebecca."
Rodriguez says that because of Mason Cook's personality, he was able to enhance the character of Cecil.
"Mason was quieter and more studied when I first met him but I could tell he had something special. I was able to make Cecil a genius kid because of how bright Mason is. I knew he could play that really well."
The Real Life Version: Time Eventually Runs Out For All of Us So Use It Wisely
The importance of family is the lifeblood of the Spy Kids universe and that was influenced by Rodriguez's upbringing as one of ten siblings and as father of five children. As with the previous films, he created a family with real issues that both kids and parents can relate to: parents that are too busy working to spend time with their family, kids who are too distracted with other things and a new mom balancing motherhood with returning to work and the dynamics of a blended family.
"We learn about time, identity and becoming more of a family through working together," Rodriguez says of the fourth installment. McHale enthuses about the script, "Robert takes real, serious themes and puts them into this funny, action packed fantastical movie for the whole family."
Herself a working mom, Alba related to Marissa's dilemma. "It's so hard to try and juggle work with being a mom and how much time you spend on one thing versus the other and it kind of blends together. Suddenly, a year goes by and you ask yourself, 'where did the time go?'
What kids have found appealing over the years is that the spies are average kids. Vega reveals, "The truth is, you don't have to be unbelievably special to be a Spy Kid. You have to be caring, giving, heroic and want to do good. It's not about your gadgets, it's about you." Sabara adds, "Being a Spy Kid is about using your imagination and following your instincts. Every kid has that potential."
Meet The New Spy Family
Marissa Cortez‐Wilson (Jessica Alba) is the younger sister of Gregorio Cortez, the patriarch of the family in the previous Spy Kids films. Her new family is unaware of her past as a top secret agent.
As a first time mom, dealing with a husband who works too much, Marissa is exhausted. Alba says, "She tries hard but gets overwhelmed and frazzled. Being a spy seems to be the easy part of what she does and being a mom is what she struggles with." When called back into duty, her character finds that going back to work is no easy task, just as in real life. Alba says of her character, "She has the baby strapped to her in a lot of sequences because she's a stay‐at‐home mom and doesn't have a sitter. She still has to change, feed and keep the baby happy, all while trying to save the world." She's also struggling with being a stepmom to kids that are critical of the way she parents. Alba explains, "She wants them to love her as much as she loves them but it's hard for kids to accept a new parent."
When Rodriguez approached Alba about wanting to make her into a spy mom, she shared with him what she wanted that character to embody. Alba recalls telling him, "I wanted to see a modern mom. Someone who is trying to work and deal with family but isn't a nagging, dowdy woman.
Someone trying to hang onto her own identity while trying to be the best mom she can be and kind of struggling with both." It was important to Alba to have her character rooted in reality. "I think a lot of women want to relate to characters they see on the big screen. Even though Marissa is a cool spy chick,
she's not great at everything but she's trying to be a good mom," she says.
Rodriguez describes that he put aspects of Alba into her character. "This is the first time I've worked with Jessica in a way that suits her real personality. She's so beautiful and sophisticated and has this baby she's carrying around." He continues, "I thought it would be fun to see that in the spy world.
It underlines the whole Spy Kids theme we've always had ‐ family life isn't much different than the incredibly complicated world of spies."
When it came to creating new spy kids to carry the mantle once held by Carmen and Juni, the masters of sibling rivalry, Rodriguez wanted them to be more cohesive dynamic. "Rebecca and Cecil are twins so they are more complimentary and work really well together. They are competitive but they aren't antagonistic towards each other." Rodriguez says. Alexa Vega describes them as "spunky pranksters who don't take no for an answer. When everyone is telling them they aren't allowed to become spies, they take it into their own hands and become unlikely heroes that want to help save the world.
Blanchard says of her character, Rebecca Wilson, the rebellious prankster, "Her quick thinking really helps her. At first, it's useful with pulling tricks on her stepmom but later on, she uses that talent to help save her family and the world."
Forever younger than his twin sister by twenty minutes, Cecil is extremely intelligent. "Cecil loves to solve problems, puzzles and anagrams, all which come in handy when you're a spy. He's also hearing impaired and that really helps him in some ways," Cook says of his character. Alba further explains, "Cecil embraces this and instead of looking on it as a handicap, it's actually a super power. He is five or six steps ahead of people because he can turn off the noise when he wants to. Whether it's the baby crying or his sister complaining, he can just tune out the noise and think."
Father and husband to the new spy family, Wilbur Wilson (Joel McHale) is a dad so busy with trying to make his "Spy Hunter" television show a success, he's stopped spending time with his family.
"Wilbur thinks he's a spy hunter because he plays one on TV but he doesn't even know that his wife is a
spy and his dog is a robot," Rodriguez notes. "I needed someone who could play that humorously and seem affable enough to make it believable yet fun, and that's Joel." McHale comments, "Wilbur is the classic example of the guy who is too busy to see his children grow up because he's so desperate to be
successful. He's kind of lost sight of what's going on with his family."
While some filmmakers might shy away from working with babies and animals, it's something Rodriguez wanted in the Spy Kids universe for a long time. He says, "I always thought the idea of a little baby that could be a spy took the idea even further. Growing up in a family of ten, we always had a baby in the house and we imagined it could do amazing things."
Argonaut (aka Advanced Robotic Guardian Operative) was an idea Rodriguez had wanted for the first Spy Kids film but it proved too expensive at the time. He loved the idea of the family dog being an unlikely hero. He explains, "Argonaut is a sleeper spy agent that's a robot. Since Marissa's been part of
the Wilson family, he's watched out for the kids while they've been growing up and he's done it silently. It's when he's called into action that he starts talking.
On Gervais voicing Argonaut, "The idea I always had was someone who sounded like a British spy but sort of sarcastic, all knowing and fed up with the kids," Rodriguez laughs. "Ricky is so inventive and brought so much to the character. A lot of what he says are ad libs."
For the role of Argonaut, Rodriguez cast Elmo, a Terrier mix who had been rescued from the pound. On what drew him to Elmo, Rodriguez recalls, "When you think of a robotic super dog, you imagine a pit bull but I wanted something that looked the opposite of that. I wanted a dog that would make you laugh as soon as you looked at him even before he did anything. We saw Elmo, who has a great underbite, kinda shaggy and very unassuming. That's the most important thing to be a spy dog - the most unassuming one."
A Super Villain with Family Values
The mysterious Timekeeper is angry at the world for squandering time and wants to steal it back. Rodriguez explains, "He's a misunderstood character. His past makes him extremely sensitive to anyone that wastes time. He believes if he could go back in time, he'd do more valuable things with it.
He feels families don't use time wisely, so he's a super villain with family values." Rodriguez explains further, "The villains in my movies are never really villains, they just have a different outlook on life and
are misunderstood. They have good intentions but go about them in the wrong way."
Jeremy Piven takes on the task of portraying multiple characters. Piven describes Danger, the debonair head of the OSS who seems stuck in a time warp as "an homage to a different time." Of Tick Tock, the Timekeeper's insane crony, Piven describes him, "He has been the most fun to play because he's really out there. He's gone back in time so much that he's been a little ravaged." And of the mysterious Timekeeper with the face of a mantle clock, Piven says, "He's outwardly the most villainous as he has the Armageddon Device and is going to stop time so he can go back in it."
Returning to Troublemaker as Grownups
Of her first day on set, Vega recalls being intimidated. "I think it was because the last time I'd worked with Robert, I was so young that I didn't really think director‐actor, I just thought he was this really cool guy telling me how to do a scene."
Sabara found much amusement in working with Vega again. "We haven't lost that brothersister banter we've always had even though we're adults now," he says. "When Alexa and I got on set for the first time together, Robert got behind the camera and he started laughing because it's completely reversed now. I'm so much taller than she is and it's satisfying!," he laughs.
During production, Alexa Vega became a married woman and was walked down the aisle by none other than Robert Rodriguez. Of the experience, she says, "I shot for a week and then flew to Deadwood, South Dakota for my wedding. I was at work two days later so my honeymoon was in Austin. She continues, "Spy Kids is always part of such big moments in my life. I did so much growing up at Troublemaker so it's really funny that I was getting married during filming!"
Vega and Sabara took Blanchard and Cook under their wings and the younger actors look to them as mentors. Vega says, "I was able to bond with them right away because our first scene together is when I'm introducing them to the Spy Kids Division. I was able to show them all the old gadgets from the first three films and they were asking all these questions."
Watching their younger counterparts Sabara notes, "It's so much fun to watch them be excited about being on set. Watching them run around and play together like Alexa and I used to when we were young, made me remember back, almost like a time machine."
A staple of the Spy Kids series are the gadgets that could only come from the mind of Robert Rodriguez. For the fourth installment, Rodriguez gave the kids some fantastical, yet always practical, spy gear. Of her character's bag of tricks which includes an Invisibility Cloak, Blanchard says, "Rebecca's Field Ambush Supplies are perfect for her strengths because she's quick thinking and such a prankster."
Cook describes his Hammer Hands as, "allowing Cecil to smash holes through walls and the Stomper boots can stomp him into the air."
He Who Wears Many Hats
Actors jump at the opportunity to collaborate with Rodriguez at Troublemaker Studios, the production company he and Avellan founded in Austin, Texas that also houses several stages and a world - renowned visual effects studio. Of the man whose many titles include writer, director, producer, cinematographer, editor, composer and more, Vega says, "He wears many hats on his films so he's able
to connect and explain the story to you in the way he sees it in his head." Piven agrees, "Robert probably knows what he wants more than anyone I've ever worked with. He's also available for collaboration of any kind. You just kind of surrender yourself to his world."
Alba comments, "He can combine that visual sense of making something look super cool and very stylized but also get the meat in every nuance of your performance." Longtime Rodriguez cohort Trejo says, "His sets always give off this aura of 'let's have some fun, let's love our work' and if you look around, everyone loves what they are doing."
The trust and respect Rodriguez gives his cast and crew has influenced his actors in long lasting ways. Piven agrees. "I got to work with Daryl a little after he finished the Spy Kids series. He was already a high profile, successful child actor and yet still a genuine person. I think that can be attributed to Robert as he's a rooted, honest guy who runs this whole world but doesn't misuse his power. When you meet the kids who have come through his movies and they're all well‐adjusted, interesting people, it's a tribute to Robert."
Rodriguez sums up the positive influence his own family has had on him and the four SK films, "Rebecca is my mother's name and Cecil is my father's. Naming the characters after my parents was an
ode to them because they provided me with the inspiration for this movie, for this series of movies."
It was through this inspiration that Rodriguez created the empowering spy adventure SPY KIDS: ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD IN 4D. Through family collaboration, the Wilson family works together to win back time with action, humor and entertainment.
ROBERT RODRIGUEZ (Director, Writer, Producer, Composer, Director of Photography) While a student at the University of Texas at Austin in 1991, Robert Rodriguez wrote the script to his first feature film while sequestered at a drug research facility as a paid subject in a clinical experiment. That paycheck covered the cost of shooting his film. He planned to make the money back by selling the film to the Mexican home video market.
The film, El Mariachi, went on to win the coveted Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival, and became the lowest budget movie ever released by a major studio. Rodriguez wrote about these experiences in Rebel Without a Crew, a perennial guide for the independent filmmaker.
Rodriguez went on to write, produce, direct and edit a series of successful films including Desperado, From Dusk Till Dawn, The Faculty, the Spy Kids franchise, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Frank Miller's Sin City, The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3D, Grindhouse and Shorts.
In 2000, Rodriguez and Elizabeth Avellán founded Troublemaker Studios, their Austin, Texas based production facility of which he is co‐owner and president. The studio includes a world‐renowned visual effects house, music and publishing arms and has played a primary role in making Austin a vibrant filmmaking hub.
In 2010, he launched Quick Draw Productions a development, production and financing company which gives Rodriguez "green light" capabilities to develop and produce his own media projects across film, television, gaming and interactive platforms while closely controlling the creative process.
Rodriguez has recently released the successful re‐launch of the Predator franchise with 2010's release of Predators for 20th Century Fox as well as the spin‐off action flick, Machete, based on the hard‐edged "fake" trailer featured in Grindhouse. Rodriguez is currently prepping the first slate of Quick Draw films. Rodriguez resides in Austin, Texas.
THE ART OF SEQUELS