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18 Facts About The "Spy Kids" Movies That'll Make You Say, "Oh, Shiitake Mushrooms"

Sylvester Stallone signed on because his kids loved the franchise!

1. Director Robert Rodriguez recently revealed that he had to fight with the studio to allow the film to center on a Latino family.

The Cortez family in action
Miramax/Courtesy Everett Collection

“For me it was a big have the kids in Spy Kids be a Latin family," Robert said. "The studio was like, ‘Why are you making them Latin, though, why don’t you just make them American?' They are American, they’re based on my family.”

2. Alexa and Daryl knew each other way before Spy Kids — Alexa met Daryl when he was only 3.

Juni and Carmen finding out their parents are spies
Dimension Films

3. And because they worked so closely together for a lot of their childhood, they genuinely had a sibling relationship.

Daryl and Alexa hugging on a red carpet.
Frank Trapper / Getty Images

"We literally fought like brother and sister," Alexa explained. "We loved each other so much and we would drive each other crazy. It was really a brother and sister relationship."

4. Robert Rodriguez came up with the idea for the "Thumb Thumbs" when he was only 13 years old.

The Thumb Thumbs
Dimension Films

"Thumb Thumbs are something I invented when I was 13, and I won my first art contest," he said. "It’s so cool going back to ideas I had as a kid and seeing them come to computer-generated life."

5. Juni's full name — Juni Rocket Racer Rebel Cortez — is a tribute to Robert Rodriguez's children: Rocket, Racer, and Rebel.

Juni Cortez wearing his spy glasses
Miramax/Courtesy Everett Collection

Both Alexa and Daryl can still recite their characters' full names.

6. Daryl Sabara actually took ballet from ages 3 to 11, which is why he danced in Spy Kids 2.

Juni dancing ballet in Spy Kids 2.
Dimension Films

7. Robert Rodriguez explained that a lot of the original Spy Kids script ended up making it into Spy Kids 2 instead.

Juni and Carmen in Spy Kids 2
Dimension Films

"I had written a lot for Spy Kids that didn’t make it. It became one and two all by itself," he said. "Basically, I wanted them to already be spy kids, and have all the gadgets, be cool agents, but that wasn’t that first movie, it was the genesis of how they become spies. So all that stuff where they were a little too savvy, too pro-active, that went into Spy Kids 2."

8. Because Alexa and Daryl were so young, there was a "fun coordinator" hired for them — they would have silly string fights and water balloon fights on set.

Alexa Vega and Daryl Sabara on a red carpet
Miramax/Courtesy Everett Collection

9. Antonio Banderas considered the films fun and a "way to have some quality time with my dear friend Robert Rodriguez," declaring Alexa and Daryl as the "true stars" of the franchise.

Gregorio and Ingrid Cortez captured in the first film
Miramax/Courtesy Everett Collection

10. Gerti and Gary Giggles — aka Emily Osment and Matt O'Leary — are still in touch. Emily has even said that she'd "absolutely" do a Spy Kids reunion. (Fingers crossed!)

11. Jessica Alba inadvertently inspired Robert Rodriguez to make a fourth Spy Kids film while on the set of their film, Machete.

Jessica Alba in Spy Kids 4 holding a baby
Miramax/Courtesy Everett Collection

"She showed up to the set of Machete with her baby and the diaper exploded," he said. "She was all dressed up with the baby, and seeing the juxtaposition of the two, I could see it. She almost looked like a spy in the clothes she had on. She was in a black outfit with heels, and I made her a spy. I told her, 'You should be the mom in the new Spy Kids series.'"

12. Sylvester Stallone agreed to play The Toymaker in Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over because his kids were huge fans of the franchise.

Sylvester Stallone as Toymaker with three other versions of himself
Miramax/Courtesy Everett Collection

"I went to my kids and said, 'Hey, they offered me Spy Kids 3' and right away there was a celebration in the house unlike any I had ever heard before," he said. "So I thought, 'Jesus, now I have gained parental respect!'...yes, I had to do it. Otherwise I would have been disowned by my 6-year-old."

13. And Alexa Vega was adorably nervous that she would accidentally sing the Rocky theme song around him.

Dimitrios Kambouris

"When I first met him, all that went through my head was the Rocky theme song," she said. "It was funny. I kept saying to myself, 'Please, don't sing that out loud!'"

14. Selena Gomez's first role was in Spy Kids 3-D as Waterpark Girl.

Young Selena gomez and Juni Cortez in a scene in Spy Kids: Game Over
Dimension Films

15. Demi Lovato read for a role in Spy Kids 3-D, and while she didn't land it, director Robert Rodriguez remembered it so well that he wrote her a part on the TV show From Dusk Till Dawn.

Demi Lovato on From Dusk Till Dawn

16. Also, Brie Larson recently revealed she auditioned for Spy Kids, but didn't book it.

Brie Larson vlogging
Brie Larson/YouTube / Via

"Did I want to be a child spy? Definitely!"

17. Alexa's son, Ocean, is now old enough to watch Spy Kids — but, according to Alexa, he prefers The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl.

18. Finally, both Alexa and Daryl kept trinkets from the sets that they still display in their homes after all these years — Daryl has one of his outfits framed, and Alexa kept one of hers as well.

Image from an Instagram Live between Meghan Trainor, Daryl Sabara, and Alexa PenaVega where Daryl shows his framed costume.
Instagram/Meghan Trainor

Join BuzzFeed as we celebrate Latinx Heritage Month from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, and explore more content celebrating la cultura.

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