Venezuelans Elise and Electra Avellan, the twin nieces of director Robert Rodriguez and producer Elizabeth Avellan, never thought acting in their uncle and Quentin Tarantino's double-feature film "Grindhouse" would bring them instant fame.
"We knew that one way or another we were going to end up working with them," Elise said in an interview with The Associated Press. "But yes, it was a surprise," Electra said. "We had no idea so many people were going to be calling us ... It was like a bomb fell in our apartment one day."
The 20-year-olds appear in the April edition of Maxim En Espanol magazine and have received several requests to act together, as well as separately, in films.
They also caused a commotion last week when they showed up wearing red dresses at the film's premiere after leading actress Rose McGowan sent a message to publicists asking that no one else wear that color because she would be wearing it.
"We still do not have a publicist, so we did not know," said Electra. "We did not understand what was happening. And the truth is Rose did not even care .... It was an exaggeration by the media."
In "Grindhouse," opening Friday in the United States, the sisters play a pair of baby sitters in the story "Planet Terror," directed by their uncle.
"We are super rebellious 16-year-old baby sitters, without any responsibility ... and we are really mad because the woman who called us to take care of her son arrives late and we kicked up a real fuss," Elise said Tuesday. "Then we find out that an epidemic is killing and transforming people into zombies and we have to help the boy's mother, we have to unite in order to triumph."
The twins said they had a lot fun playing with the guns and the used cars on the film, as well as working with Rodriguez and Tarantino, for whom they say they feel a deep admiration.
"It was like going to play with adults," Elise said.
Electra Amelia (Electra) and Electra Isabel (Elise) Avellan, whose father is the brother of Rodriguez's wife and producer, started their career at age 4 in Caracas, Venezuela, by appearing in TV commercials "to help pay the bills," said Electra.
"My mother was a struggling actress and model," she said.
After studying theater and acting in Venezuela, the sisters moved to Texas about four years ago and relocated to Los Angeles at the end of last year.
"When we moved (to Texas) we were like OK, 'Well, are we going to do it or not,"' Electra said about their acting aspirations.
They spoke to their aunt and uncle, but said Rodriguez thought they were too young for his film "Sin City" and too old for "Spy Kids."
"But he told us 'Keep studying and I'll call you in the future,"' Electra said.
Honoring his word, he called them to audition for "Grindhouse" and liked their work so much he changed the script, which was originally written for only one baby sitter, the twins said.
They said their experience on the set was "excellent," but they also recalled some bittersweet moments. Being the nieces of the director and the producer had benefits, but they said "it was a double-edged sword."
"We were in the middle of a very crazy situation during the filming and we had to keep our objectivity," she said, referring to a weekslong interruption in the filming last year in Texas that reports said was caused by personal problems between Rodriguez and his wife.
The New York Post reported Tuesday that the couple, who have been married for 16 years and five children, are separating because Rodriguez was having an affair with the lady in red, McGowan.
"I believe that women need to protect women," said Elise. But "we love our aunt and uncle and support them both no matter what happens."
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