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Rodriguez hopes 'Spy Kids 4' passes the smell test

Staff Writer
Austin 360

The new 'Spy Kids'? They'll smell.

Austin director Robert Rodriguez, who wrapped up his hit children's movie trilogy with 2003's "Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over," will reprise the series with the Aug. 19 release of "Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4-D."

The pic will star Rowan Blanchard and Mason Cook as a new young spy duo, but it'll also feature the original "Spy Kids" kids, Alexa Vega, 22, and Daryl Sabara, 19, as their spy mentors.

And yes, it'll be in "4-D."

In a nod to film pioneer John Waters, the 3-D film will be supplemented with Aroma-scope.

"We brought 3-D back the first time," Rodriguez says of "Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over," which anticipated the current 3-D craze.

"We had to come up with a 4-D, and the obvious choice was smell," he told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Audiences will be given a smell card with eight scent strips. On-screen cues will let them know which one to activate.

"You'll smell something that is story related," Rodriguez says, "so you'll feel as if you're right there with the characters."

But beware, the writer-director adds, "one of the characters is a smell prankster, so what you actually smell won't be what you're expecting."

Why did Rodriguez go back to the series after all these years?

Simple, he says. He made the first three films in part for his three kids, Rocket Valentino, Racer Maximiliano and Rebel Antonio, now in their teens.

"I had two more kids since then," says Rodriguez, referring to Rogue Joaquin, 7, and Rhiannon Elizabeth, 5, "and they never got to be involved with 'Spy Kids.' (Rodriguez and Elizabeth Avellan, who gave birth to all five kids, divorced in 2006 after 16 years.)

Rodriguez says he's ready to make another sequel — if the new one does well.

"And yeah, I already have an idea how to make it in 5-D."

"Spy Kids 4" was shot in Austin last fall. Stars include Jessica Alba, Antonio Banderas, Danny Trejo, Jeremy Piven, Vega and Sabara.

The plot centers on a new era of kids who help their stepmother, a retired spy, battle the sinister "Timekeeper" in an effort to save the world.

With additional material from the Philadelphia Inquirer.