Capone brings a gun to a knife fight with MACHETE's Danny Trejo!!!
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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Aug. 30, 2010, 6:55 p.m. CST
Aug. 30, 2010, 6:56 p.m. CST
Aug. 30, 2010, 7 p.m. CST
Cooooool. My friend owes me $27.00. Can't wait for this movie.
Aug. 30, 2010, 7:11 p.m. CST
I hope the movie makes a billion - or at least $47,000 (Robert DeNiro's catering bill - lunch only). Go Trejo!
Aug. 30, 2010, 7:14 p.m. CST
by Tigger Tales
Aug. 30, 2010, 7:16 p.m. CST
Aug. 30, 2010, 7:17 p.m. CST
The illegitimate offspring of Sid Haig and Anne (Throw momma from the train) Ramsey!
Aug. 30, 2010, 7:26 p.m. CST
...the invention of Proactiv. That's a face with several lifetimes of character.
Aug. 30, 2010, 7:46 p.m. CST
I'm stealing that. But ya, he really makes Eddie Almos look like a cheerleader, don't he? Love the guy though. Just can't take your eyes off him...
Aug. 30, 2010, 7:46 p.m. CST
herc likes the talkbacks nice and tidy or something?
Aug. 30, 2010, 7:53 p.m. CST
I was gonna say ' Yoda's hairy backdoor' but sometimes less is more - and Amoebas know about less!
Aug. 30, 2010, 8:02 p.m. CST
I got to speak with him briefly about a year ago in Dallas, TX at a WizardWorld. I saw him eating breakfast in the hotel and I just went up to him to talk. We only talked for a few minutes, but he could not have been more gracious or pleasant. He is a true class act and I hope Machete makes him more recognized.
Aug. 30, 2010, 8:24 p.m. CST
danny trejo and lance henriksen are my favs because they are not polished. Even though Rob Zombie's movies are crap, I love his casting choices as well as Robert Rod's.
Aug. 30, 2010, 8:49 p.m. CST
Aug. 30, 2010, 9:26 p.m. CST
by Nasty In The Pasty
So, does that mean that only the footage that was used in the Grindhouse trailer was shot by Rodriguez, and the rest was shot by Ethan Manquis?
Aug. 30, 2010, 9:28 p.m. CST
guaranteed!! Bought and paid for!!
Aug. 30, 2010, 9:33 p.m. CST
by frank cotton
and in better shape than i've ever been in - and his tats ain't fake
Aug. 30, 2010, 10 p.m. CST
but fanboys will love it
Aug. 30, 2010, 10:06 p.m. CST
Aug. 30, 2010, 10:24 p.m. CST
by Arcadian Del Sol
I used to think edward james almos looked rugged and then this guy shows up like a stack of 40 grit sandpaper left out in the rain.<p> His whole face is made out of cat's tongues.
Aug. 30, 2010, 11:32 p.m. CST
Aug. 30, 2010, 11:43 p.m. CST
Aug. 30, 2010, 11:47 p.m. CST
Aug. 31, 2010, 12:52 a.m. CST
by Motoko Kusanagi
Aug. 31, 2010, 1 a.m. CST
Capone: Eat a dick.
Aug. 31, 2010, 2:11 a.m. CST
Comes across as a decent guy, more power to him!
Aug. 31, 2010, 2:53 a.m. CST
He looks suave, like a Mexican straight out of the 50's. American Me holmes!
Aug. 31, 2010, 4:31 a.m. CST
Who have a problem with Capone's sign-off - get a grip. If he's a non-believer why on earth would he reciprocate with "and God bless you too"?! Seriously, pull your head out of your arse.
Aug. 31, 2010, 4:35 a.m. CST
if you were actually offended! If not, forget my hungover rant ;)
Aug. 31, 2010, 7:18 a.m. CST
I believe he did serious time in Vacaville, which aint a country club. Respect hermano!
Aug. 31, 2010, 7:53 a.m. CST
by The McPoyle Clan
Breaking Bad, the audience was literally blown away!
Aug. 31, 2010, 9:02 a.m. CST
And will MACHETE join the list of OTHER films championed by AICN only to see a quick box-office death? Sadly, the answer to both questions is "YES".
Aug. 31, 2010, 10:13 a.m. CST
by Spandau Belly
I'd love to hear about his work with Michael Mann too.
Aug. 31, 2010, 11:49 a.m. CST
Based on the novel by Eddie Bunker (Mr. Blue of Reservoir Dogs) about a young kid sent to a very bad prison. I believe Eddie and Danny spent time together in the same prison. Great underrated movie with an actual good performance from Edward Furlong, plus Willem Dafoe as a skinhead and Mickey Rourke as a drag queen.
Aug. 31, 2010, noon CST
by judge dredds fresh undies
Trejo is the man. Shame he couldnt be in The Expendables.
Aug. 31, 2010, 12:41 p.m. CST
Yes,mojoman he was in prison as a young man.<p>I read a great bio on him, he was in gangs when he was a teen and got in serious trouble. (I think he shot/seriously hurt some guys)<p>But in prison he decided he wanted to get out of the gangs so he came up with the idea to go into prison boxing. He stayed friendly with them, but didn't get into hurting others and used the boxing as his cred.<p>I think it was San Quentin though, not sure. Anyway, he was the boxing champ for his weight class in prison for 2 years!!<p>After being released, he's done a lot of good for the community, helping out the young guys in the gangs, setting up boys homes, etc...Also a committed Christian. (despite the roles he sometimes plays!)Interesting that Terry Crews, Tiny Lister (deebo), and Chuck Norris are all saved now...must be a tough-guy thing.<p>Yeah, so Danny Trejo is pretty much often. He's lived the hard life, changed, and made himself a success and is helping out others...a class act.
Aug. 31, 2010, 12:44 p.m. CST
I R tarded.
Aug. 31, 2010, 6:44 p.m. CST
by Munro Kelly
He's a good guy. I'm glad he's getting a theatrical released film, with him as the star.
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