Capone brings a gun to a knife fight with MACHETE's Danny Trejo!!!
Published at: Aug. 30, 2010, 6:53 p.m. CST by Capone
Hey everyone. Capone in Chicago here.
Danny Trejo has been one of my favorite character actors since writer-director Robert Rodriguez cast him in DESPERADO and FROM DUSK 'TIL DAWN a year later. Sure, I'd seen him dozens of films before that, but there was something so perfectly menacing about him in the Rodriguez films that his face and name stuck in my head from that point forward. The two have worked together several times since, including appearance in all three SPY KIDS movies, ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO, a great appearance in the Rodriguez-produced PREDATORS from earlier in the summer, and perhaps most memorably in the once-false GRINDHOUSE trailer for MACHETE, which Rodriguez adapted into an actual feature being released this week.
Trejo has been in nearly 200 films and television shows from HEAT, ANACONDA, CON AIR, and ANCHORMAN to "Burn Notice," "Alias," "NYPD Blue," and "Desperate Housewives." There isn't much the man hasn't done, and with about a dozen project on the horizon, Trejo clearly is in no danger of slowing down. And let's face it, isn't any movie better with a little Trejo in the mix?
I got a chance to talk to the man who is Machete at San Diego Comic-Con in July at the official preview party for the film. Shortly after showing some extended and bloody-as-fuck clips from the film (You know that scene in the trailer that shows Machete jumping out a window holding onto a rope and swinging down the floor below through another window? That ain't no rope…all I'm saying.), I talked to Trejo about one of the few leading roles of his 15-year career. Trejo is one of the nicest guys I've met in recent years, and he's clearly thrilled that his good friend (and second cousin, I believe) Rodriguez has made good on his promise to cast Trejo in the lead role of one of his movies. Enjoy Danny Trejo…
Danny Trejo: So you're with Ain't It Cool? Are you in Austin too?
Capone: Actually, I live in Chicago. Almost everyone else is in Austin, plus one man in L.A. We literally just walked up and saw that footage. That was a hell of a show, man. Tell me about what you thought the first time Robert [Rodriguez] actually said “I want you to be the lead in my movie?” What did you think of life beyond the trailer?
Danny Trejo: Robert actually had that idea 16 years ago when we did DESPERADO. He told me, “You’re perfect for this character, this super hero that…” I said, “Well, cool.” Then we both got real busy and kind of shelved the movie, and when they did GRINDHOUSE and they did those trailers, we came to do the trailer and the response for that trailer was so great that it was a no brainer. Do you know what I mean? Except for me threatening him a couple times to do it. [laughs] But, yeah, he promised me “Let's do it.” I think the finished product is awesome.
Capone: Does he use footage that he shot for that trailer in his movie?
DT: Oh yeah.
Capone: So it’s in there?
DT: Oh yeah.
Capone: So it’s a real trailer now. That’s awesome.
DT: It’s a real trailer. We are the real deal, and you know it was done as only Robert Rodriguez could do it, you know what I mean?
Capone: But then when you started to hear about some of the people that he was signing up to do this, like De Niro, that had to blow your mind a little bit.
DT: It did. And I couldn’t believe it. Robert Rodriguez did a movie called SHORTS. And in that, he had a wishing rock. I think he used his wishing rock for the cast. But De Niro, Jessica Alba, Lindsey Lohan, Michelle Rodriguez, Steven Segal, Cheech Marin, Jeff Fahey. We got Daryl [Sabara] from SPY KIDS. We’ve got my son, Gilbert Trejo, who is producing a movie right now. 22 years old and he’s producing a movie. He got that from Robert Rodriguez. Awesome.
Capone: You've done some pretty violent things in Robert’s movies before, but nothing like this. Is this making you go “Are we allowed to do this? Are we going to get away with this?”
DT: You know what? It is awesome. I couldn’t believe it when he said some of the things we were going to try, but it was great. It was a lot of fun to do. The cast was awesome. The stunt guys were beautiful, and everybody that worked on that movie. It was just an awesome experience.
Capone: Yeah. I interviewed Robert at SXSW when he was promoting PREDATORS, and he told me a story about how he got you to be in that, because he was looking for someone like you. Then you just said, “Why not just use me?”
DT: Oh, in PREDATORS. The character description said something like “Mean and tough, like Danny Trejo.” I walked in and was all like “What do you mean like Danny Trejo? I’m right here!”
Capone: “You know, we know each other, right?”
DT: “It’s your part, go do it.”
Capone: We can talk about it now, but the way they kill you off right in the beginning of PREDATORS, that’s a spooky scene.
DT: Well you know, they’ve got to kill me off, because I look so mean on screen that I make them Hollywood kids look bad.
Capone: Are you saying you make Adrien Brody look like a wuss?
DT: No! Adrien did a great job. Adrien did an awesome job and you know, because I thought he was kind of… But he kicked ass. It was hard keeping up with him.
Capone: What have you got coming up?
DT: Well, I’ve got a movie coming out called VENGEANCE, and I think there are people talking about that. You can go to the site, VengeanceArmy.Com. It’s an awesome movie, but it’s more in the realm of Charles Bronson-style vigilante DEATH WISH.
Capone: That’s something you shot already?
DT: VENGEANCE is already shot.
Capone: Who's the director on that?
DT: A guy named Gil Medina. And then we’ve got VENGEANCE 2. [laughs]
Capone: So you are the Bronson-like character, the lead again?
DT: Yeah, yeah. Jack Santos.
Capone: That’s awesome man. Then beyond that do you have anything else?
DT: I did a movie called RANCHERO that’s coming I think in the fall. Its coming out, I think, in October. Its called RANCHERO, and it’s with a friend of mine’s brother, you know one of those deals where they paid me $100…[laughs]
Capone: You did it as a favor then.
DT: I do a lot of those. I just finished HAROLD AND KUMAR 3.
Capone: Oh, you are in that? The new one, right.
DT: A VERY HAROLD & KUMAR CHRISTMAS, yes.
Capone: 3D, right?
DT: Yeah! Oh, you have got some surprises in that. I don’t know if they could get away with what we did.
Capone: Well, that’s why they have those unrated DVDs for HAROLD & KUMAR movies, yeah. Aside from MACHETE, do you have like a favorite character that you've done with Robert? You guys are so closely associated.
DT: I loved the SPY KIDS films. A lot of these guys [gesturing to the Comic-Con crowd] remember me from SPY KIDS.
Capone: Yeah, sure.
DT: Simply because they grew up watching me, so it’s great. It’s great to see people come up and say “I love you in SPY KIDS.” SPY KIDS is so big, there are still five and six year olds coming up and saying, “We watch SPY KIDS all of the time!” “Wow, did your mom show you?” Because they weren’t even born when they first came out. Robert makes movies that endure time.
Capone: Not to get too deep on it, but you and Robert must have something like a shorthand between the two of you. Can you talk a little bit about how you guys work together?
DT: You know what it feels like? I kind of know what Robert wants out of the characters that I play. Sometimes he’ll look at me and he’ll just say “Danny, you're acting. [laughs] I’m like “Robert, it’s a movie, I’m supposed to act!” But for my characters, he likes my expressions, he likes my style in a sense. Yeah, so he keeps me pretty real you know?
Capone: So that’s pretty much the only direction he gives you: “Stop acting so much”?
DT: It’s great. In this movie I got to kiss Jessica Alba. My God, shoot me now. And then I’m in bed with Michelle Rodriguez, you know, so I did something right in my last lifetime.
Capone: Yeah, he’s paying you back for all of that nasty stuff he made you do before.
DT: And I get to kill all of the guys that killed me.
Capone: That’s right. Alright, I'm going to let you get back to your party. It was really great to finally meet you.
DT: God bless you.
Capone: Yeah, take it easy.
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