Rico Torres is a killer shot
LAPACAZO SANDOVAL Special to the AmNews | 5/23/2013, 2:56 p.m.
"Lapacazo, I'm in Texas, and I'm shooting 'Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.' I have evidence. Do you want to see pictures?"
That's the Facebook message I received from one of the best still photographers in the film industry.
His name is Rico Torres, and one of the most interesting elements in our long, distant friendship is the synergy.
The images arrived the same day Hollywood was buzzing about the rumored fourth installment of Rodriguez's action-romance "Desperado" getting the "green light," which is just a fancy industry term that means it got the approval, not the cash.
"Desperado" is the sequel to "El Mariachi" and was followed by "Once Upon a Time in Mexico."
The flick would reunite Salma Hayek and Antonio Banderas in the roles that made them international movie stars. This is just gossip and speculation. It has not been confirmed.
The synergistic element was Torres' work on that film. Then, he was a young, brash unit photographer with no industry contacts and a limited bank account. The now-iconic image of the two hard-edged lovers emerging unscathed through a fireball made many careers, including his. It was also the first film of many for the gifted director of Latino heritage. That powerful visual of "Desperado" made many people into instant fans, of which I am one.
It was a sunny Sunday in Los Angeles, and that defiant Hispanic couple was gracing the cover of the Sunday Calendar section of the Los Angeles Times. Hollywood's big brass were asking, "Who took that shot?" I also asked the same question, and two weeks later, I was working with him in the jungles of Mexico on an action flick produced by Sony Pictures. I was the unit publicist and he, the still photographer. We bonded over our love of film and adventure and found ourselves becoming friends.
I don't see much of Torres these days. When he's not working around the world, he lives in Spain. Exotic locales and movie sets are his second home, as was mine for many years. Life is good for him--hectic, but rewarding. He recently shared that he was unable to do Ang Lee's film, "The Life of Pi"--which just earned a well-deserved Academy Award--because he needed to spend more quality time with his teenage daughter, who lives in Spain.
I'm craving that vagabond film life again. This creative stirring usually happens around the film award season. There is powerful magic that occurs when you arrive on a film set. It's alchemy, and a great master illusionist, Torres has a special skill: He can disappear--vanish into thin air like a bunny in a magician's top hat.
It's that trick, along with his skill, good looks and impeccable European manners, that has made him the go-to guy for filmmakers all over the world. He's a handsome charmer, and here is a quick look at what drives his passions.
AmNews: You've worked on most of Robert Rodriguez's films and shot all the iconic posters on his films. How did you score such a cushy job?