Interview with Danny Trejo

Danny Trejo is the star of the recent film “Machete”.  “Machete” is Trejo’s first starring role and starred off as a faux trailer from “Grindhouse”. Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Danny about his new movie and his career.

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Mike Gencarelli: How did you originally get involved with Robert Rodriguez?
Danny Trejo: Originally I cast for a movie called “Desperado”. I walked into his office and he told me “You remind me of the bad guys in my high school”.  I told him “I am the bad guys in your high school” and we just hit it off.

Mike Gencarelli: Your character Machete was featured in Robert Rodriguez’ movies going back to first “Spy Kids”, how was that character created?
Danny Trejo: Robert Rodriguez told me about Machete when we were doing Desperado.  Everyone thought I was the star of the movie.  Nobody knew who Antonio Bandaras was.  Everyone was crowding around me and asking for autographs.  Robert came up and said, “Hey they think you are the star of the movie” and I told him “I am, aren’t I? and he cracked up.  He told me about this character Machete and said that I am perfect for it and that was 15 years ago.  He made me Machete as a joke.  He named me Uncle Machete in “Spy Kids”.  When we did the fake trailer for “Grindhouse” he said “At least we did the trailer, just in case we can’t do the movie”. Then the fans demanded we did “Machete”.  We got more response from “Machete”, then we did “Grindhouse”.

Mike Gencarelli: With “Machete” opening up number two in the country, you must be thrilled right?
Danny Trejo: Its awesome.  George Clooney had a bigger budget and his film, “The American”, opened up on a Wednesday.  We opened on Friday like regular and we came close.  Just to be in the room with George clooney is an honor.  I giggle everytime they compare us [laughs], I mean come on its George “Fucking” Clooney.

MG: What has been the hardest film that you worked on?
DT: I think “Machete” because I was there everyday.  Usually I come in two or three days.  I would kill a couple of people and call everyone motherfuckers and leave.  On this one I was there everyday and Texas had 70 days of over 100 degrees. It was pretty brutal.  It was my first lead and also the first Latino action hero.  It was fun but a lot of work.

MG: I hear your son and daughter are also in “Machete”
DT: I got my whole family in the business.  My daughter Danielle, was the machine gun toting mechanic.  When they gave her a machine guy, they asked if she knows how to use it and she said, “Yeah”.  Rodriguez laughed and said “Trejo’s Kid” [laughs]. My son Gilbert played Jorge in the movie but he didn’t have any lines.  It is so unbelieveable, he is 22 years old and putting me in a movie called “Skinny Dip”.

MG: Tell us about “Skinny Dip”, it also co-star Michelle Rodriguez?
DT: Yeah, It’s me and Michelle Rodriguez so far.  We just started working on it, we are trying to get Eric Roberts and some other people.  We’ll see, they’ll jump aboard.  It is going to be one hell of movie.

MG: You also play Johnny 23 in one of my favorite action films, “Con Air”, must have been a blast to work on?
DT: YEAH!! CON AIR!! [yelling]. Yep, that was the biggest test of testosterone that I have ever had in my life.  EVeryone was in competition.  If you would spit, somebody would spit further.  Pretty soon, 25 guys would be spitting [laughs].

MG: What else are you currently working on?
DT: We are getting ready to sell a movie called “Vengenance” right now, it should be coming out this October.  After this I am flying to New York for a premiere of a movie called “Modus Operandi”.  It was done by my son’s business partner.  He is name is Frankie Latina.  Yeah man, we are doing it all.

MG: You are also involved with some charity work, tell us about it?
DT: My wife and I have a foundation called Canine Compassion.  what we do is we help people that rescue animals.  We put up fundraisers and Jillian (Reynolds) is going to get involved with us from “Good Day LA”. It is great.  I also work with drug addicts at Western Pacific Medical Corp. You got to give back man!

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