Harry Potter may have ruled the roost when it comes to children's films for the past two decades, but there were a number of other plucky young upstarts in the mix offering kids a different take on adventure films. Chief among them was Spy Kids, and another notable example was The Adventures of Sharkboy & Lavagirl, both of which were created by action movie veteran Robert Rodriguez. In an interview with Collider, Rodriguez explained how the world of the two movies will come together in his upcoming Netflix feature We Can Be Heroes, a superhero movie starring Pedro Pascal and Priyanka Chopra.
"My most rabid fanbase all these years, by far, has been my kid films. My Spy Kids audience. These kids watch those movies over and over because they're action films made for children and families, in particular at a time when they need empowerment. Netflix came to me because the Spy Kids movies had done just so well on their service. They said 'could you make a series of films that do that?' And I said, "I'd love to!"
While Spy Kids was a huge success and spawned an entire franchise, The Adventures of Shark Boy & Lava Girl in 3D were a box office disappointment, but later went on to be regarded as a cult hit. Rodriguez confirmed that We Can Be Heroes, which the filmmaker described as "like an Avengers team but they all have kids", will feature a cameo by both Sharkboy and Lavagirl as superhero parents who now have a daughter with shark and lava powers, with Lavagirl also having a speaking part. Robert Rodriguez further explained how Netflix will be the perfect partner for the kind of children's movie he intends to make.
"It was hard to make them for the theater because kids couldn't drive themselves to the theater and watch it a thousand times. Parents would have to take them. With Netflix, they can just sit there and [mimicks hitting a play button]. I don't have to sit there and watch Glitter Force with my daughter, she can just click it as many times as she wants. That's why they get such high numbers on those types of films."
Of course, filming for the movie is difficult right now, due to the global lockdown and social distancing rules set in place for the film industry. For Rodriguez, difficulties are further compounded due to the young age of many of the lead cast of his film.
"It was the most challenging movie I'd ever done because, any director knows, the most challenging scene is like a dinner scene where you got a lot of people. The whole movie I got eleven superhero kids in every shot. Trying to figure out how to film that was incredible. It's really challenging and exciting and I already shot it and was editing it when this happened. I'm scoring it...we're scoring it in Vienna, remotely, listening over here in the other room. I can't be in the orchestra room as usual. They're all sitting six feet apart in Vienna, it's a wild time."