LOS ANGELES — In a previous life, Danny Trejo has done to the sport of boxing, sold drugs and served time in prison, before his whiskers, his scars and his tattoos make his fame in Hollywood, he who embodies the cliché of the eternal bad guy latino.
At 74, the actor of mexican origin has become unavoidable, with nearly 370 appearances on the big (Desperado, The Wings of hell, Heat) and the small screen (Breaking Bad, X-Files and Sons of Anarchy), without counting the advertising. Almost every time, he has the bad role.
“We always need a villain, and what is with the bad guys is that they always have work,” he says, laughing at the AFP, in full promotion of the DVD of the action film Death Race, Beyond Anarchy.
And it all has to match in the role: of tattoos, including a woman wearing a sombrero, scars, large whiskers, small eyes and a strong Spanish accent. In short, the cliché of the “bandido” in Latin which he enjoys.
“The smart people know the truth about latinos, in which you can find everything,” says the actor, whereas during the u.s. presidential campaign in 2016, Donald Trump had qualified mexican immigrants to rapists and drug traffickers.
“I’m not passionate about politics, but I know that the truth will prevail,” said this american citizen – he was born in Los Angeles – to conclude the subject.
“Latinos have come a long way since I started and today, a lot of actors latinos are stars”, says he, not to include in the list. Humble, he also uses his fame to participate in programmes of fight against drugs.
He arrived at the 7th art in a different way, which have notably led in prison.
In his youth, he is gifted for boxing and wants to go professional, but he sinks into drugs and was incarcerated several times for eleven years. In prison, he won championships in the lightweight and then the welterweights. A sale of fake cocaine to an undercover policeman the fact once again falling and it decides in detention to fight his addiction.
During his rehab, he met the screenwriter Eddie Bunker. In 1985, while Bunker is working on the film , Runaway Train, he offers her a job: to train actor Eric Roberts, who plays in the movie, to scenes of combat. It will be paid 320 dollars per day, a proposal that he accepts immediately.
The film’s director, the Russian Andrei Konchalovsky, he then offers a small role in the film.
“I didn’t know what it was like on a shoot, and people have started to call me Mr. Trejo”, he said with a laugh. “The world may think you are a star, but not me, he says, it is a job like you do yours, it is what I do to earn my living.”