Exclusive: From Dusk Till Dawn stars
Share this article:
Zane Holtz and DJ Cotrona, who play the Gecko brothers in From Dusk Till Dawn, were in the country recently. Debashine Thangevelo reports
IT was a busy week for Hollywood actors Zane Holtz and DJ Cotrona: they were in Mauritius for another DStv media event before making their way to South Africa.
Cotrona says, “Yeah, we are a little bit jetlagged. But it was the first real night of good sleep.”
Holtz nods in agreement.
These two have ingratiated themselves into the hearts of fans with Robert Rodriguez’s TV series adaptation of the From Dusk Till Dawn cult movie franchise, which he did with Quentin Tarantino.
While shorter in person, Cotrona is every bit as dashing as he looks on camera; as is the lankier Holtz. In fact, both are distractingly attractive. Cotrona is the more talkative of the two and Holtz has a more intense disposition.
On being selected to inhabit the roles of the Gecko brothers, Cotrona says, “As far as getting involved, it was a quick process for both of us. Robert Rodriguez, our director and creator, is pretty well-known for working fast in all aspects. He shoots fast and he casts fast. I got a phone call from Robert at the very last minute and I had always been a giant fan of his. So I jumped at the chance. About a week after that, I started reading with some of the other actors, doing chemistry tests to find the right combination for the brothers.”
It has become standard practice for successful films to be turned into TV shows – especially of the superhero ilk. Cotrona notes, “It is becoming very common in the market place these days. Anytime you have iconic property or characters, you are seeing them revisited more and more. What’s great in our case is that Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s characters are just as iconic, if not more so. The problem is that no one else has access to them, except those two guys. The thing that gives us confidence – and what we are very lucky to have – is that we are doing it with the original director and creator.”
Holtz reveals, “I had come off a couple of small independent films when I met with the casting director and Robert. I read to play Seth. It worked in the sense that Robert liked me, but it didn’t work out for the part.”
He was then asked to audition for Richie. That was followed by a reading with Cotrona.
Cotrona laughs, “We had never seen each other before that. When Zane came in, I didn’t like him instantly. Something about him rubbed me up the wrong way. Then he sat down and we started to do the scene and he just crushed it. He was good and intimidating and I saw Robert’s eyes light up.”
While Holtz clearly had the role in the bag, he continued to hover around, much to Cotrona’s annoyance.
“He was still trying to seal the job and kept asking questions. I kept thinking, please shut up, you got the job,” laughs Cotrona.
Holtz retorts, “Nah, it wasn’t fan questions. He brought up some car…”
In the first season, Don Johnson made an appearance. The second instalment sees Rodriguez’s mascot join, as well as a few others.
“We have great new actors,” says Cotrona. “Obviously, the big one is Danny Trejo, who plays The Regulator. Basically, Robert’s Terminator. He has been in every one of the Dusk Till Dawn movies. And there is Esai Morales as Lord Amancio Malvado – the antagonist.”
On the brothers finding themselves on different journeys, which is poles apart from where they started out in season one, Holtz says, “Being able to show the two brothers apart is a logical step.”
Cotrona expands, “Rodriguez has had a long time to think about. He came up with a lot of ideas that he didn’t get to shoot on the original film and has found different ways to tap into that. We have always known Seth and Richie to be this co-dependent crime duo. But you get left with this desire to also see these characters in different scenarios. That was the allure of this. Richie becomes a different person when he transforms and gains more power. We also see what happens to Seth when he stops becoming the confident mouthpiece and he has found a new vice – cocaine – to cope.”
Holtz adds, “Everything has flipped. Seth is lost and doesn’t know what to do with himself whereas Richie is taking the opportunity to see if he can do this on his own and maybe earn Seth’s respect.”
From Dusk Till Dawn is the kind of action-packed TV series that sometimes feels like an old school gangster crime drama and then meanders into grind house/horror territory.
One thing is for certain – this show lives up to the cult legacy of its movie franchise, and then some.
l From Dusk Till Dawn airs on M-Net Edge on Mondays at 9pm.