Posted: May 7, 2012
I will admit that it’s a bit nervous to wait on a call from Danny Trejo, the baddest man you can find at the movies. Then when I start the interview by asking; “So, you’re doing Bad Ass?” he laughs and the ice is broken. Danny feels immediately like a very down to earth person, a person who likes what he does and who work more than many others in the movie industry and who does it because he really loves what he’s doing.
Danny says he was sent the screenplay for "Bad Ass", read it and immediately liked what he read. He never hesitated and said yes to play the part right away. By then he didn’t know that the script was based on a real incident where an elderly man strikes a younger guy who bullies him on a bus. It’s a version of this that we see early into the movie. Once he found he looked it up on YouTube and found it pretty cool.
"Bad Ass" contains a lot of action scenes and especially a lot of fight scenes and I asked Danny if he did them himself. A little to my surprise, after all he turns 68 in a week, he says that he did everything himself. He also says that the fight scenes were not particularly difficult. He made them with stuntmen and because they know exactly how to do it it’s never dangerous. It’s a lot worse to do it with other actors, or as Danny put it. "They are more concerned about how they look than how they fight." And if there’s anyone who should knows its Danny. A search on his name over at IMDB.com gives a list with no less than 228 films in which he’s been involved and in 2012 alone, 10 new films are set to premier. Unbelievable! I asked Danny if he knows how many movies he’s been in but not even he can keep track on all of them. He does know that it’s a lot. He also tells me that he prefer action movies like "Machete" and "Bad Ass".
Seeing how many movies he’s done I cannot help but ask how much he works and he admits that he works a lot. People tell him to take a vacation, but he likes his job too much and it feels like a vacation anyway so "Why should I take your vacation?” However, he has no plans to move into directing as many other actors do. As a director he would have to keep track of everything. As an actor, it is enough that he shows up and brings his A-game. He has also seen directors having to work with real assholes and if he was in their position he would probably end up strangling them.
Naturally the conversation drifts into the 2010 success movie "Machete" and Danny admits that it was his big break, although he’s been active as an actor since the mid 80's. "Machete" was the movie that made him a big name in Hollywood and around the world and after it premiered he’s gotten a lot more offers for lead roles in movies. It has also given him more attention outside the U.S. and he has just completed filming of "Dead in Tombstone" in Romania.
He also tells me that filming of the sequel to "Machete" called "Machete Kills" begins on June 4 and that it will be something special. Danny even believes that "Machete Kills" will outdo "Machete" which sounds wonderful to someone like me who loves "Machete". To succeed, they need to be even more extreme this time and according to Danny that is exactly what director Robert Rodriguez has been. It has also recently been confirmed that Mel Gibson has landed a role in the film so that should be interesting.
I take a chance and ask him about his life before he became an actor. I say that I take a chance because it’s difficult to determine how much of it he wants to talk about. I mention that I've seen the movie "Champion" in which he’s very openly to talk about his previous life and about doing time at San Quentin. But I need not to worry. Danny has no problem with talking about his early life. It was as he says, already out in the papers before "Champion" so people knew who he was and where he came from. He has instead managed to turn it into something positive, and when he is out talking to young people, he has no trouble getting their attention. And he thinks it's important to let them know how he managed to get out of the life he was living and now being a positive role model for young people who’s in the same position he was in many years ago.
Finally, I cannot help asking him how it feels to have an action figure made from his character in "Machete". Surely it must be pretty cool? And of course it is. Danny says that people always turns up with the figures and want him to sign them. And with that we end the interview and as I hang-up I cannot help but wonder how it would feel to be depictured as an action figure. I personally wouldn’t mind becoming an action figure but on the other hand, I'm not even close to being as tough as Danny Trejo, The Man, The Myth, The Legend!