Being in a Robert Rodriguez movie is a lot like joining the mafia: there are usually a lot of guns and, once you're in, you never get out.

Rodriguez is a ground-breaking director who jumped on board the HD train early on and touted the merits of 3D well before we ever heard of 'Avatar.' He's also intensely loyal to the actors and actresses he casts. Rodriguez has been afforded this luxury because he shoots and cuts his movies not in Hollywood, but in Austin, at his own Troublemaker Studios. There are a lot of familiar faces in Rodriguez's films (like his sister Tina, who's in four of her brother's movies); here's a list of some of the most notable members of Robert Rodriguez's Acting Troupe: Being in a Robert Rodriguez movie is a lot like joining the mafia: there are usually a lot of guns and, once you're in, you never get out.

Rodriguez is a ground-breaking director who jumped on board the HD train early on and touted the merits of 3D well before we ever heard of 'Avatar.' He's also intensely loyal to the actors and actresses he casts. Rodriguez has been afforded this luxury because he shoots and cuts his movies not in Hollywood, but in Austin, at his own Troublemaker Studios. There are a lot of familiar faces in Rodriguez's films (like his sister Tina, who's in four of her brother's movies); here's a list of some of the most notable members of Robert Rodriguez's Acting Troupe:

Jessica Alba
Number of Rodriguez Films: Two
Rodriguez cast the beautiful Jessica Alba as Sartana, the immigrations officer put in charge of stopping the titular hero in the new movie 'Machete.' She plays the flawlessly attractive, younger, gun-toting love interest to an older tough guy, Danny Trejo, who's hellbent on a bloody vendetta killing spree. In 'Sin City,' Alba played Nancy Callahan, the cowgirl-themed go-go dancer who had the hots for another older man, Bruce Willis.

Josh Hartnett
Number of Rodriguez Films: Two
From a pen to a pistol, Josh Hartnett has taken people apart in two Rodriguez films. Hartnett's first Rodriguez role was as the nervous doodler/teen heartthrob Zeke Tyler in 'The Faculty.' As Tyler, Hartnett carried an endless supply of ballpoint pens, which he used to defeat a staff of alien school teachers. Seven years later, Hartnett starred in a short test film with Marley Shelton. The scene was almost entirely in black and white -- with dashes of color -- and ended with Hartnett's nameless character revealing himself as a contract killer and silently shooting Shelton. That short movie was sent to Frank Miller as a proof of concept for Rodriguez to make Miller's graphic novel series, 'Sin City,' into a feature film. The same scene can be seen as the opening of the film.

Mickey Rourke
Number of Rodriguez Films:Two
Rourke has appeared in two of Rodriguez's ensemble action flicks and neither ends well for his character. As Billy Chambers in 'Once Upon a Time in Mexico,' Rourke is a convicted felon who fled to the deserts of Mexico, but is found eight years later by bad guy Willem Dafoe. Rourke's second role was the instantly memorable and heavily bandaged Marv in 'Sin City.' Marv was also a hardened, convicted felon, but this one had a heart of gold and a soft spot for helping drop-dead gorgeous damsels in distress. One ultimately good and one ultimately bad -- and neither gets to ride off peacefully into the sunset.

Steve Buscemi
Number of Rodriguez Films: Three
Buscemi has played two very different characters across three films for Rodriguez. Buscemi's Rodriguez debut was a young actor's wet dream: a 5+ minute soliloquy. 'Desperado' starts with Buscemi walking into a Mexican bar and regaling the unsavory patrons with the superhuman story of Antonio Banderas' dismantling of another Mexican bar. In the 'Spy Kids' sequels, Buscemi is a zany mad scientist named Romero who helps said "kids" to defeat the bad guys.

Quentin Tarantino
Number of Rodriguez Films: Three
Quentin Tarantino is one of the most critically acclaimed film directors of the past 20 years, but the man has also done some acting. Tarantino and Rodriguez are great friends off-camera and have collaborated on many of each others' projects, including Rodriguez scoring the soundtrack for 'Kill Bill: Vol. 2' and Tarantino guest-directing a scene of 'Sin City' (Clive Owen and Benecio Del Toro's car ride). As far as his acting roles, Tarantino has played three bad guys for Rodriguez and each one has met a gruesome and untimely demise: in 'Planet Terror,' 'From Dusk Till Dawn' and 'Desperado.' Tarantino's best work is the dirty joke monologue he delivers in 'Desperado.'

Carla Gugino
Number of Rodriguez Films: Four
In three of her four movies with Rodriguez, Gugino has played Ingrid Cortez, the part-time secret agent and full-time mother of the 'Spy Kids.' Gugino's fourth movie was a little bit more than a cameo (but what a cameo!?!) as the sexiest parole officer in the world, Lucille, in 'Sin City.' Aside from Gugino's raven-haired supermodel looks, nothing is similar about her very R-rated performance in 'Sin City' and her very G-rated performances in the 'Spy Kid's' trilogy.

Salma Hayek
Number of Rodriguez Films: Six
The lovely Salma Hayek has shown a great deal of versatility in her six films with Rodriguez. Hayek has sung, danced, played guitar, handled snakes, shot guns and pretended to be an alien who was pretending to be a high school teacher (in 'The Faculty.) Horror, action, and family comedy ('Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over'); Hayek does it all in these movies, including playing a vampire in 'From Dusk Till Dawn' way before tweens thought they were so cool. Hayek's character with the most screen time is Carolina, Antonio Banderas' love interest in 'Desperado' and 'Once Upon a Time In Mexico.'

Antonio Banderas
Number of Rodriguez Films: Six
The ever-talented and entertaining Antonio Banderas has been a fixture in six Rodriguez films as either a pistol-packing man of vengeance or a father. Banderas was not the original Mexican "Punisher" with a guitar case full of guns (Carlos Gallardo was the first in 'El Mariachi'), but he reinvented and owned that role as The Mariachi in 'Desperado' and 'Once Upon a Time In Mexico.' From being the greatest Hispanic hero since Zorro to being the re-occurring super spy dad, Gregorio Cortez, in the 'Spy Kids' trilogy, Banderas can handle it all. Banderas also played the tuxedo wearing father of the two kids who torment Tim Roth in the movie 'Four Rooms.'

Cheech Marin
Number of Rodriguez Films: Eight
Veteran comedian Cheech Marin is tied for appearing in the most Rodriguez movies. Marin, like Banderas and Gugino, has been in all three of the 'Spy Kids' movies as Uncle Felix. Besides that wholesome role, Marin has also played a few bad guys with a penchant for attracting bullet holes in their heads -- like the bartender in 'Desperado' and the sleazy paid informant Belini in 'Once Upon a Time In Mexico.' Recently, Rodriguez has cast Marin as a "man of the cloth" in 'Planet Terror' and his new movie, 'Machete.'

Danny Trejo
Number of Rodriguez Films: Eight
Rodriguez has a very defined opinion of Danny Trejo: The man looks good with big sharp knives. Five of the eight Rodriguez-directed Trejo characters are named Machete; oddly enough, they are two different Machetes. Trejo plays Banderas' estranged brother Machete in the 'Spy Kids' trilogy. Trejo also plays a man named Machete, the ex-Federale ass-kicking protagonist, in 'Machete.' The apple doesn't fall far from the tree with Trejo's other characters, such as Razor Charlie in 'From Dusk Till Dawn' and the knife-throwing hit man, Navajas, in 'Desperado.'