fredag den 16. maj 2014

Eksklusivt interview: Danny Trejo fylder 70

At man skal ikke skue hunden på hårene, er Danny Trejo et godt bevis på. Den mexicansk-amerikanske birolleskuespiller, som fylder 70 år i dag, har ellers fremragende forudsætninger for at illudere barsk latinobørste. Danny Trejo tilbragte store dele af 1960'erne bag tremmer for væbnet røveri, og hans karakteristiske, hærgede fjæs skyldes dels et heftigt stofmisbrug, som han lagde bag sig i 1969, og dels alle de tæsk, han indkasserede i sin tid som fængselsbokser.

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Ved en tilfældighed havnede Danny Trejo i filmbranchen i midten af 1980'erne. Siden har han i mere end 100 biroller udfyldt nichen for latinamerikanske bøller så overbevisende, at han i dag hyldes som en kultfigur – især i kraft af hans samarbejde med instruktøren Robert Rodriguez, der gerne caster Danny Trejo som en slags maskot i sine film. Det var også Rodriguez, der i 2010 gav Trejo hans livs første hovedrolle som den fåmælte machohelt Machete i filmserien af samme navn.

> Læs også mit interview med Robert Rodriguez

Jeg sad til bords med Danny Trejo i Venedig, da ”Machete” havde verdenspremiere, og jeg måtte sande, at Danny Trejo bag sin garvede læderhud og bistre apparition er en lun, venlig, ydmyg og jordbunden bessefar - eller som Jessica Alba udtrykte det, en rigtig ”softie”. Især husker jeg, hvordan Danny Trejo under gruppeinterviewet skulede fascineret over mod min notesblok og spontant afbrød et svar for at udtrykke, hvor imponeret han var over denne danske journalists pertentlige, gnidrede håndskrift:

”That's amazing, that writing! Wow.”

Tillykke med de 70 år, Danny Trejo!

Danny Trejo at Venice Film Festival 2010


EXCERPTS FROM MY INTERVIEW WITH
Danny Trejo
(Venice 2010 – all rights reserved © Brian Iskov)

Danny Trejo on being typecast as a heavy:
I've always worked, but always as the bad guy. And people say, arent you afraid of being stereotyped? Come on, look at me! I dont look like a good guy (laughs).

I've watched guys sitting in gyms wasting their life waiting for that good guy part. Me, I wanna work, and Robert [Rodriguez] knows that. I'll play a tree if you want me to. And if you want me to put fruit on it, maybe I want more money. But I don't really pick and choose. Bad guys are easy for me, I just show up.

Danny Trejo on his violent background:
[Film violence?] None of it is real. Maybe the facial expressions are, but if it was real, someone would be dead. I've been exposed to violence. I always say, the first half of my life was a character study.

I was lightweight and welterweight champion [in San Quentin prison]. When I came out, I couldn't get a boxing licence because of the violence that I had on my record. So I became a drug counsellor.



Danny Trejo's film debut as a boxer in "Runaway Train" (1985)

Danny Trejo on his way into the movie business:
My first movie was ”Runaway Train” with Jon Voight. I got on by accident. I was a drug counsellor, and one of the kids I was working with asked me to come down and hang out with him because he was afraid he was gonna use. And I ran into a really good friend of mine from my past in the penitentiary called Eddie Bunker, who was a writer. Me and Eddie knew each other since 1962. My uncle bought a robbery from him in '62, that's where I met him. Then I met him in San Quentin, and again when he'd written the screenplay to ”Runaway Train”. He adapted it to American cinema because it was [originally written by] Aiakawa [Akira Kurosawa]. He asked me if I wanted a job training Eric Roberts how to box, and Andrei [Konchalovsky, the director] saw me and put me in the film.

Danny Trejo on taking Robert De Niro to a prison:
I always ask the leads in my movies whether they wanna go to juvenile hall or penitentiary to talk, because we always do that. [Robert] De Niro [who played opposite Trejo in ”Machete”] has been the only guy to go to the pen with me. He drove 60 miles to talk to a bunch of kids in prison. And it's amazing because he is not a public speaker. The interview guys know! And he talked for maybe a minute and half, and then he waited to shake everybody's hand. These guys, from 14 to 25, all murderers. They were so quiet and respectful, it was unreal. The prison guards got scared. Robert just captivated them.

Danny Trejo in "Machete" (2010)

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