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Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003) Poster

Trivia

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Johnny Depp shot all of his scenes in 9 days, but after his filming was done he didn't want to leave. So he suggested to Robert Rodriguez that he play a small part, the priest that Antonio Banderas talks to in the church, and use his Marlon Brando impression.
Johnny Depp improvised many lines where he was originally intended to swear.
The script was 45 pages.
There is a kid dressed in a yellow t-shirt in all the films in the El mariachi (1992) trilogy.
The role of Sands was originally intended for George Clooney. When he was unavailable, Robert Rodriguez considered Kurt Russell, Bruce Willis, Sean Penn, and Nicolas Cage before deciding on Johnny Depp.
The man Barillo hires as a body double was an assistant. There were no digital effects; the man looked as identical to Willem Dafoe as he did in the movie.
Salma Hayek's scenes were rescheduled in the shoot so as to allow her to complete filming of Frida (2002).
The Chihuahua has a name tag that says Moco on it. Moco (which means "booger" in colloquial Spanish) was the villain in El mariachi (1992).
The last movie Robert Rodriguez wrote as a member of the Writers' Guild of America. He left the WGA after completing the script saying that they "have too many rules and just take your money." He would later leave the Directors' Guild of America in early 2004, before the filming of Sin City (2005).
The real guns the filmmakers intended to use were delayed at the Mexican border for two weeks, so for the first two weeks of filming only rubber prop guns were used, with all the visual effects added digitally in post production. At first, Antonio Banderas was so thrown off by using silent prop guns that he was mouthing "bam" noises as he fired off fake shots.
The ringtone for the cellphone that Sands gave to El Mariachi is "Canción Del Mariachi", the theme song of Desperado (1995). You can hear it for a very short time before El Mariachi answers the phone.
The role of Cucuy was written for Quentin Tarantino who ended up having to drop out due to the filming of his own film, Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003).
Almost the entire gunfight in the church was filmed with rubber guns, almost no squibs, and no physical damage to the church. Nearly all bullets, blood, explosions, and physical damage were added in post production.
After being introduced to High-Definition digital video by George Lucas in 2000, Robert Rodriguez made this film his personal test to push the limits of the cameras. They withstood all of the conditions, including the often intense Mexican heat, and allowed Rodriguez to experiment with various lenses, filters and frame speeds.
When El Mariachi opens his guitar case in the hotel, some of Navajas' knives from Desperado (1995) can be seen strapped to the inside of the lid.
The painting printed on a banner at the beginning of the Day of the Dead parade is by L.A. artist George Yepes who now lives in San Antonio, Texas.
There are several scenes that were leftover from El mariachi (1992) and Desperado (1995). The hotel escape was originally intended for Desperado, and the escape from the compound (while guarded in a jail cell) was included in the original script for El Mariachi.
One of the metal lunch boxes used in this movie is a Marilyn Manson lunchbox, featuring a picture from his album Holy Wood.
In the sidewalk café scene after Johnny Depp walks away, Rubén Blades pours the first drink of his wine on the ground. This is a symbolic gesture meaning "for those who have gone before" and is a salute to his murdered partner.
This is the second movie in Hollywood's history to be located in the city of Culiacan. Culiacan is a city, but the President (Pedro Armendáriz Jr.) says that Culiacan is a state of Mexico.
The motorcycle chase was originally written as "mini road warrior".
The military was originally going to supply the vehicles, but when they found out the General in the movie was a villain they refused. The vehicles were supplied by local collectors.
The name "Ajedrez" is Spanish for chess.
According to the liner notes in the soundtrack CD, Johnny Depp wrote his own theme music (track 9 on the CD). Rubén Blades supplied a bass line for his character and Antonio Banderas embellished on the previous El mariachi (1992) theme.
"Fideo" means "Noodles" in Spanish.
When Antonio Banderas is sorting his guns in his hotel room, the ammo on the bed is made by "Rodriguez Rounds".
"El Cucuy" is slang for Chupacabras ("sucks the goats") the vampire-like bogeyman of Latin American cultures.
According to writer/director Robert Rodriguez, the idea to do a third movie in his El mariachi (1992) series came from his friend Quentin Tarantino who, knowing Rodriguez to be a fan of Sergio Leone, also suggested the title. Tarantino is given special thanks in the closing credits. - Actually Robert Rodriguez intended on making a trilogy from the get go. You can read that for fact in his book "Rebel Without A Crew".
The film was finished in 2001 but the release was pushed back to 2003.
Originally filmed in 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio, the film was matted for a faux 2.35:1 aspect ratio for theatrical release.
The scene where Fideo shoots the soldier and causes him to fall over the railing was improvised.
WILHELM SCREAM: during the motorcycle chase.
Danny Archuleta is the name of Rubén Blades's character in Predator 2 (1990). His friend in this movie's name is also Archuleta.
During pre-production, Robert Rodriguez estimated that he would need around 70 special effects shots in the movie. It finally amounted to 400 effects shots. However, due to Rodriguez' extremely fast and efficient style of filming, and the fact that digital effects could be inserted much easier into digital video, the film could be finished within budget.

Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

When Billy is shot in the back, the gunshot is digital, as Mickey Rourke didn't want to ruin his jacket.
Body count: 99
There are a few references from the graphic novels of Sin City (2005), which Robert Rodriguez filmed after "Once Upon A Time In Mexico". First, when Sands shoots Ajedrez in the stomach after getting kissed by her, it's a identical picture from the graphic novel "A Dame To Kill For" that is number 2 in the Sin City maxi series. Earlier in the movie, when Barillo makes Sands blind, there is almost an exact picture from the Sin City book "Hell And Back". Other similarities are the scene with Mariachi and the priest in the confessional booth (as seen in the book "The Hard Goodbye") and the subplot involving facial reconstruction (as seen in "A Dame to Kill For").

See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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