BRINGING PAST INTO PERSONA
Unlike most movie bad guys, Danny Trejo – star of Desperado, Con Air and Machete – is the real deal. The 71-year-old actor spent 11 years in the San Quentin and Soledad state prisons 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 cocaine fuelled Jon Voigt 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.
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’ and we hit it off.”
They’ve since worked on Once Upon a Time In Mexico, the Spy Kids films, the From Dusk Till Dawn series and the fake Machete trailer for Grindhouse which became an actual movie in 2010.
Sequel Machete Kills came out in 2013, and it featured another hilarious trailer for “coming attraction”: Machete Kills Again … In Space.
When Rodriguez turned his film franchise From Dusk Till Dawn into a TV series, it was only a matter of time before Trejo appeared. Instead of reprising his bartender character from the films, he’s an even more badass character called The Regulator.
“I come back from the dead to terrorise everybody – even the vampires are scared of me.”
Danny Trejo in