Danny Trejo talks reprising Machete and not fighting Mel Gibson

Danny Trejo reprises his Federali badass hero in "Machete Kills." Credit: Getty Images
Danny Trejo reprises his Federali badass hero in “Machete Kills.”
Credit: Getty Images

When Hollywood needs someone to play a badass Mexican, the only guy to call is Danny Trejo. With his craggy face, pony tail and chest tattoo of a sombrero-clad woman, he’s the kind of hombre that would make plump pasty Gringos run back to the border on those loco toe-dipping trips to Tijuana. And he doesn’t just have the look for these roles, he’s got the résumé too. Highlights include past drug addiction and multiple stints in prison. He spent time in San Quentin in the 1960s and at one point during a riot threw a rock that struck a prison official — during that time a gas chamber offence.

But he’s come a long way from those dark days.

“Machete Kills” — the sequel to “Machete,” his first leading role — sees Trejo (a.k.a. Machete) in the employ of the quippy U.S. President (Charlie Sheen). His mission? To shut down a psycho billionaire arms dealer (Mel Gibson) intent on blowing up the world. A 12-step program followed by a series of serendipitous events led Trejo to this new life — it’s a change he attributes to the “grace of God.”

“Every morning I wake up is an absolute blessing and every night I go to bed is an absolute blessing,” he says. At 69 years old, Trejo’s interests have moved from prison brawling to golf and his rescue dogs. Today, he’s supervising a team of workers who are installing a driving range in his backyard.

“I’m doing a sitcom with George Lopez right now called ‘Saint George’ and he gave me a set of golf clubs so it’s like, ‘Let’s learn how to golf,’” he says.

There’s a pause, a crash and raucous barking.

“HEY! YOU STOP THAT,” he shouts.

In another minute he’s back on the line.

“I have the most disobedient dogs in the world. I’ve got six of them. I just rescue them. I think they were all going to the gas chamber too,” he laughs.

But back to Machete and all his other characters, like that knife-thrower in “Desperado” who takes down Steve Buscemi and almost ends Antonio Banderas. “I can throw a knife, but you gotta remember that’s movie magic, and [director Robert Rodriguez] is the best at it.”

Apparently Machete is better at throwing double-headed axes. “I’m really good at that,” he insists.

But for all his tough guy swagger, Machete isn’t invincible. “I had a sword fight with Mel Gibson in this movie and when Robert Rodriguez said, ‘Action,’ I threw my sword down and he said, ‘What’s wrong Danny?’ and I said, ‘I’m not fighting William Wallace, come on, he saved Scotland, are you crazy?’”

Fun facts about Danny Trejo
While doing time in San Quentin, he won the lightweight and welterweight boxing titles.

His first role came about through someone he met at a Cocaine Anonymous meeting in 1985. That person took him to the set of Runaway Train where he was offered a role as a convinct extra. He also trained some of the actors on the set in boxing for $350 a day.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Sister of accused Boston Marathon bombers arrested for…

The sister of the accused Boston Marathon bombers was arrested in New York City for threatening a woman over the phone, saying she could "put a bomb on you," police…

Local

Mayor announces public housing improvements

Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at the Lincoln Houses in East Harlem on Wednesday, calling for the scaffolding to come down at NYCHA complexes across…

National

Peter Theo Curtis: American released by Syrian militants…

An American writer freed this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria spoke briefly outside his family's Cambridge home Wednesday of…

Local

Bratton defends 'broken windows' work as NYPD support…

Sixty percent of those polled said they support the "broken windows" theory approach popularized by Commissioner Bratton since his first term in the 1990s.

Television

'So You Think You Can Dance' recap: Season…

Season 11’s top four dancers gave their final performances before America’s Favorite Dancers are announced next week.

Going Out

Labor Day in NYC: Make the last weekend…

Soon, it’ll be time for wool accessories and knee-high boots. Even the Pumpkin Spice Latte has already arrived — but we still have one last…

Going Out

Things to do this week in NYC, Aug.…

MUSIC The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees…

Going Out

5 things to do this weekend in NYC

The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees expected. David Guetta,…

NFL

Mario Manningham on the bubble as Giants play…

Former Super Bowl hero Mario Manningham hopes his second go-around with Big Blue doesn’t end with Saturday’s final cut day.

NFL

Source: Stephen Hill 'faces a battle' to make…

A team source says Stephen Hill, who has battled injuries and poor performances during his first two years, is no lock to make the Jets’ final roster.

Sports

Serena Williams leaving legacy of talented American women…

It seems only a matter of when, not if, Serena Williams will win her 18th career grand slam championship.

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…

Sex

The 10 types of people you meet online

Does it ever seem like online dating profiles tend to get a little repetitive? It turns out you are not the only one to have…