DEATH ROW TO TV’S BAD­DEST BAD GUY

Herald Sun - Switched On - - COVER STORY - AN­DREW FEN­TON EN­TER­TAIN­MENT WRITER

Un­like most movie bad guys, Danny Trejo — star of Des­per­ado, Con Air and Ma­chete — is the real deal. The 71-yearold ac­tor spent 11 years in the Cal­i­for­nian pri­son sys­tem on drug and rob­bery charges in the 1960s and early ’70s. But af­ter nar­rowly es­cap­ing the death penalty he found God, joined AA and turned his life around. Ever since he’s worked hard to help oth­ers do the same.

“I re­alised I had to ded­i­cate my life to help­ing other peo­ple stay out and that’s what I’ve done, I still do it,” he says. “And karma keeps com­ing my way.”

Trejo be­came an ac­ci­den­tal movie star in 1985, when one of the ac­tors he was spon­sor­ing asked him to help him avoid temp­ta­tion on the co­caine­fu­elled Jon Voight film Run­away Train, and ended up with a small role in the film.

He’s now starred in more than 270 films, and has an as­ton­ish­ing 29 cur­rently in var­i­ous stages of pro­duc­tion.

“Peo­ple ask me: ‘Are you go­ing to re­tire?’ I just don’t want to. Man I’m hav­ing so much fun. Re­tire to what: Fish­ing?”

His longest and great­est col­lab­o­ra­tion has been with di­rec­tor Robert Ro­driguez who cast him in 1993 in Des­per­ado.

“I walked into his of­fice and he said ‘ boy, you look like the bad guys at my high school’. I said ‘I am the bad guys in your high school’. We just hit it off.”

They’ve since worked on Once Upon a Time In Mex­ico, the Spy Kids films, the From Dusk Till Dawn and Ma­chete fran­chises – the lat­ter soon to po­ten­tially spawn Ma­chete Kills Again ... In Space.

“I was talk­ing to Robert about it to­day and he was like: ‘We gotta get it done this year’.”

Trejo has also joined the sec­ond sea­son of Ro­driguez’s TV ver­sion of Dusk Till Dawn (in a dif­fer­ent role to the films) as The Reg­u­la­tor.

“You call him when you want peo­ple dead — and not just dead, RE­ALLY dead. If I want to know what you see, I’ll eat your eyes. I come back from the dead to ter­rorise ev­ery­body — even the vam­pires are scared of me.”

FROM DUSK TILL DAWN, FX, TUES­DAY, 7.30PM

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