I’ve been up, down, and every other direction and inclination with Robert Rodriguez. There’s so much to love about the guy, and that makes his missteps that much more frustrating. While he can do pretty much anything on a film set – shooting, directing, writing, scoring, special effects, cooking – he’s proven he rarely does all of these things well simultaneously. But how can you get a guy who’s so self-sufficient and self-confident to change his ways? You start by getting him out of the protective banner of the Weinsteins and having him learn to play well with the other kids at the playground.

For the first time in a long while, Rodriguez is looking at a couple of gigs where he won’t have complete autonomy over the proceedings. You could speculate that this is a consequence of the non-performance of Grindhouse, but whatever the motivation, I think it’s a necessary break from his usual MO. The first project he’s considering would be helming a bigscreen live action version of The Jetsons for Warner Bros. Right now, there’s nothing but a still evolving script that will undoubtedly see many more changes once a director is found. But Rodriguez has the kid-friendly chops to make this decent (I’m going to pretend that The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl was a nightmare that I once had and mercifully woke up from). I would assume that Warner Bros. is also putting enough into the revival of this brand to guarantee that a big name, established FX house will handle the cool visuals rather than RR’s homegrown FX factory.

The second film, a bigscreen version of Land of the Lost with Will Ferrell attached to star, sounds much, much sillier and is said to be the less fleshed-out project of the two. But with these both clearly being for-hire money gigs, does that even matter? There’s also a minor consideration of Rodriguez’s non-Director’s Guild status, which of course was a consequence of his clashing with them over credits for himself and Frank Miller for Sin City. It shouldn’t prove too much of a problem as there are some loopholes that allow RR to direct these studio films without fully rejoining. The deciding factor is most likely a matter of which project his kids will push him toward and when the check clears.