When you interview Danny Trejo, it’s almost impossible to stay on the topic of just one film because of the actor’s constant drive and always growing filmography. If we’re to believe IMDB.com, Danny is currently slated to appear in 21 movies between 2013-2014, and that’s only what we know of. While talking to Danny, he mentioned at least one more film that wasn’t listed, so who knows how many times we’ll be seeing Mr. Trejo in the coming years. Most recently you can catch him in Robert Rodriguez’s upcoming sequel Machete Kills, but I was there to talk about another project Danny is particularly excited about, and that’s the revenge Western Dead In Tombstone.
There’s an aura of badassery that Danny has become known for, playing rough-and-tumble characters like Machete, and he’s become somewhat of an action mainstay, but his on-screen presence is all an act. Personable, friendly, warm, and hilarious, I had a blast talking to Danny about being a Hollywood badass, his love of Westerns, his admirable work ethic, and what we can expect from Machete Kills. Hope you enjoy the interview as much as I enjoyed conducting it!
We Got This Covered: Because you’ve worked with director Reiné Roel before for the Death Race franchise, does that make it easier to come into a film like Dead In Tombstone and feel comfortable shooting?
Danny Trejo: Reiné! That’s my guy right there. It’s funny, when I first met him, I walked up to him and said “What’s your name?” He says “Reiné Roel.” I was like, “OK, well let’s get one thing straight…” and I saw his face go “Oh shit, here’s Chico from hell,” and I said, “Roel makes the rules!” I loved his last name! It’s like, “I’m Roel, I make the rules!” We got along great. We had a blast doing both Death Race films, he loved my character, and we did this film, and we just got along – like me and Robert Rodriguez. We’ve got our own little communication going.
We Got This Covered: Did Reiné come to you with this part specifically because you’d worked together so well on the Death Race films?
Danny Trejo: Yeah, he had asked me what I wanted to do next, and I said I’d love to do a Western, so he goes, “Oh, I got one!” He came to me with Dead In Tombstone and I said, “Shit yeah!” Plus, it gave me the chance to work with Mickey Rourke again, and I love that guy.
We Got This Covered: Speaking of Mickey Rourke, how did you like his take on the Devil. Could you actually picture him as the Devil?
Danny Trejo: Oh yeah! [Laughs] He just looks like the Devil. He scares me! [Laughing]
We Got This Covered: So it sounds like you guys have a pretty good relationship – how far back does it go?
Danny Trejo: I was producing a film called Animal Factory years ago, and I asked Mickey if he wanted to do this small role for me as a drag queen, and he said “Sure,” then he knocked the hell out of this drag queen part. He was unbelievable. I told him, “Mickey, you’re a little too believable as a drag queen.” He just went, “Shut up, Trejo.” [Laughing]
We Got This Covered: So what drew you to Dead In Tombstone, what makes this revenge story different?
Danny Trejo: Well I die, I go to hell, and I make a deal with the devil, Mickey Rourke. I tell him, “Hey, I’ll give you 6 souls for 1, I’ll bring ’em all to you,” so he snookers me and puts a time table on it. If I don’t get them back in time, he gets ALL of them. It was fun.
Dina Meyer steals the show, though. She stole the show in Starship Troopers, because she’s so damn gorgeous, and in this, she’s still just as gorgeous. Boy, as a cowgirl, damn! [Laughs]
We Got This Covered: So does any part of you wish you could live in the Wild West, making your own rules and living free?
Danny Trejo: You know, I love Westerns. I’ve got a dog, my dog Cash, and if you say “Do you like John Wayne,” he’ll start barking. He loves John! But for me, I’d love to be in that era, yeah. Two of my favorite movies of all time – The Searchers with John Wayne, and the other is The Big Sky with Kirk Douglas. Just great movies.