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Who is that actor: Danny Trejo

August 25, 2010

I’ll be watching TV and all of a sudden I’ll think, “Hey, I’m in this!” A lot of times I don’t even know the names of [the movies]. I just show up. From 1985, when I first started, to 1990, I did a shitload of B-movies about prisons. They would always say, “Get that Mexican guy with the big tattoo”. I’d show up and I’d have one line, like, “Kill em all!” or something.

– The ultimate that guy, Mr. Danny Trejo.

Danny Trejo‘s chest tattoo of a woman wearing a sombrero is as iconic as his frequent appearance as a vengeful, snarky thug. Second cousin of frequent collaborator Robert Rodriguez – they’re together again in the upcoming Machete – Trejo blipped for me in From Dusk to Dawn and Michael Mann’s Heat where oddly enough he played a character named Trejo! But my favorite Trejo characters are the recurring ones he plays on King of the Hill – the lovable Strickland Propane employee Enrique and the shadowy associate of Dale Gribble named Octavio. Much has been made of Trejo’s hard scrabble early life in Pacoima, CA, but I’d rather focus on the glorious way he’s transcended his narrative and past and embraced his that guy status with charm and humility. Definitely the highlight of the documentary about character actors called The Face is Familiar:

Other actors are not unhappy with being typecast; it’s preferable to unemployment. For Danny Trejo, undoubtedly the most entertaining actor featured in this film, playing the heavy-handed villain in more than 100 films has been a blast. But then, he never thought he’d be an actor at all. An ex-con, he fell into acting almost by accident and has virtually never been unemployed. He joyfully admits most of his fan base is made up of those who work in kitchens.


17 Comments leave one →
  1. Alyx Vesey permalink
    August 25, 2010 3:19 pm

    Hearts for Trejo’s performances on King of the Hill. He was also great in a surprisingly brief stint on Breaking Bad. I regret that my introduction to Trejo was Con Air, a movie I also can’t believe Dave Chappelle was in.

  2. August 25, 2010 3:39 pm

    LOL! I recently watched (can’t say screened, it’s too corny for that) Con-Air again! I forgot that both Trejo and Chappelle were in that thing. Also the curly haired convict was a hacker in Hackers!

  3. August 25, 2010 4:39 pm

    Danny Trejo really is the “ultimate” That Guy!

    “An ex-con, he fell into acting almost by accident and has virtually never been unemployed.”

    That’s interesting. Makes me wonder if most “That Guy” and “That Girl” actors (Luis Guzman and Judy Greer immediately leap to mind) have similar success. I mean, Judy Greer has played the best friend in practically every rom-com of the past few years!

  4. August 25, 2010 4:57 pm

    Kitty Sanchez!!!! <3Judy Greer!!!

  5. August 25, 2010 5:02 pm

    Yes! Loved her on Arrested Development. “Take a good look at these!” Or something to that effect.

  6. IrishUp permalink
    August 25, 2010 6:00 pm

    *** fans self ***** hoooyah, is it me or is it HOT in here all of a sudden? Danny Trejo and ‘Dusk Till Dawn. Get me a fainting couch, my knees are jelly!

    I’ve always enjoyed the GUSTO he brings to his beleathered beknived badboys, but he’s also fun when he gets to other stuff – I was all squee when he showed up in “Spy Kids”.

  7. August 25, 2010 8:15 pm

    @ IrishUp: Danny Trejo makes me swoon a little bit. And I love Spy Kids, because I think it’s fun and cute (and I want to have babies with Carla Gugino AND Sessy Antonio), but Danny Trejo as Uncle Machete sealed the deal. I’m still secretly hoping that Machete is actually Uncle Machete in a parallel universe or something. ohpleasepleaseplease.

    I love pretty much everything I’ve seen Danny Trejo in. The first time I saw an episode of KotH with Octavio, I was like “Hey, they made him look like Danny Trejo!” Then he spoke, and I squeed mightily upon realization that it was Trejo.

  8. August 26, 2010 8:26 am

    Omg, I loved when Enrique talked to Hank about his relationship.

    Enrique: in my culture we don’t talk about our feelings.
    Hank: really, why would you want to give that up?


  9. August 26, 2010 9:37 am

    I loved him in the Spy Kids movies I’ve seen.

  10. August 26, 2010 1:05 pm

    I’m just beyond super psyched that a movie was actually made from the Machete trailer they showed as part of Grindhouse. I think it was the standout of all the fake trailers for sure. And I don’t even care that boring ol’ Jessica Alba is in it! It’s gonna be all about Danny Trejo and Cheech Marin.

  11. August 26, 2010 1:11 pm

    The Machete trailer screened before The Expendables and it definitely raised the roof. Cheech Marin is gonna be so money in this thing.

  12. August 26, 2010 1:50 pm

    Cheech Marin + priest outift + 2 huge shotguns = cinematic gold!

  13. August 27, 2010 9:15 am

    His character is Spy Kids was named Machete… is this a spinoff?

  14. August 27, 2010 10:27 am

    LOL. I don’t think so!!!

  15. August 27, 2010 2:18 pm

    DANNY! I once took an internet quiz of “what actor are you” and he came up as my results and I was so proud.

  16. Q.V. permalink
    April 26, 2011 12:41 am

    Spotted in most recent episode of Bones, as a devout bishop. No firearms or tattoo so far.

  17. Q.V. permalink
    April 26, 2011 12:46 am

    Without even looking it up, I am guessing this episode is supposed to get us eased into a nice warm spin-off called The Finder.

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