Danny Trejo on 'Machete 3' and a Possible Return to 'The Flash'
Danny Trejo on Rob Zombie's '3 From Hell' and what's next with Robert Rodriguez's action series.
Scroll through 75-year old actor Danny Trejo’s IMDb and you will find, I kid you not, 20 projects that are upcoming, filming, or in pre-production. Even the most famous working actors in Hollywood don’t have 20 projects ahead of them. But as Trejo tells Inverse, movies always need bad guys.
"People like bad guys.
“People like bad guys,” Trejo says over the phone. “You know what I mean? They’ll call and set up days, and as long as the days are right, we’ll do it. I’m a worker bee. I love to work. If I’m not working on a movie, then I’m spending money on old cars.” On the other end of the receiver, a raspy smoker’s laugh punctuates every one of Trejo’s answers.
I tell him I recently tried his tacos while on a weekend assignment to Los Angeles. He tells me he loves me. We’ve never met before.
Danny Trejo is out promoting a brief appearance in the Rob Zombie horror movie 3 From Hell. “It starts off in prison, and there’s some voodoo murders,” he says, describing the plot. “And the lead, he escapes and goes on a rampage.”
Trejo has a small role, reprising the character “Rondo” from Zombie’s 2005 movie The Devil’s Rejects. “In a twist of fate, I end up in prison with one of the guys I chased in Devil’s Rejects.”
With a face like worn leather, a jet-black handlebar mustache, and several years served at San Quentin State Prison (where he earned boxing championships in the prison’s lightweight and welterweight divisions), Trejo has made a long career playing killers, crooks, and thieves. But earlier this summer, he became an internet darling when he and another bystander saved a child with special needs from a flipped car after an accident.
He later told The Washington Post, “The scariest thing in the world is to crawl into a car in that situation and you smell gas.”
The incident, which happened in August, briefly turned Trejo into an internet folk hero. Websites like Twitter and the gaming website Kotaku celebrated Trejo’s heroism with photoshops and GIFs.
"“I love video games.
It’s not hard to see why. He’s well-known to millennials for his roles in Robert Rodriguez’s Spy Kids and Machete films, a slew of TV roles that include Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy, Rick and Morty, The Flash, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. He’s been in video games too, including classics like Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and modern hits like Call of Duty: Black Ops.
“I love video games,” Trejo says. “I got kids coming up to me, ‘Hey I fought you in Black Ops.’ It’s a lot of fun.” He laughs again.
What follows is a conversation with Trejo on his new folk hero status, his appearances in video games and shows like The Flash, and his hopes for the future of the Machete franchise.
Inverse: 3 From Hell is the third time you’ve worked with Rob Zombie. What’s Rob like as a director? How has he grown as a director?
Danny Trejo: I love Rob just because he loves what he does, and he gets to do what he loves. He’s having so much fun. It trickles down, and everyone on set has fun. He’s not a voice raiser, he’s not a yeller. His sets are just kinda cool.
And Halloween. Did Halloween with him too.
You have a lot of projects in development. What of your upcoming works are you most excited for?
My son directed me in a movie. It’s called From a Son, and it’s probably the heaviest thing I’ve done, I’ve never cried in a movie. I’ve never sobbed. But my son got me to cry. It’s a drug movie, and it’s about my son going out, overdosing, and dying. And me going into his hotel looking for him.
It’s every parent’s nightmare. My mom used to say when I got in trouble, she’d wake up and knew it. This is the way the story starts. He overdoses and, guhh, I wake up. It’s quite a journey. We’re going to Sundance right now.
After you rescued a child from a flipped car this summer, did you ever anticipate becoming a folk hero on the internet?
You know what? No. Firemen keep teasing me, “Hey you’re a real hero.” I say [to them], you guys do this all day long. Anybody would have it. But I was in Canada, and this one fireman said, “Danny, you don’t know how many times we’ve watched people die because somebody didn’t want to open a door.”
People don’t want to get involved. And I don’t see how. It behooves me that someone don’t want to get involved.
You have a new science-fiction project coming out soon, Paragon. What can you tell me about it? Has it found a network yet?
I can’t, really. That one’s not ready. Certain things we can’t talk about. I didn’t even know I was going to be in that. I can’t tell you anything about that. If I talk about it, I have to kill you.
Robert Rodriguez recently talked about the potential for Machete 3. Is there any movement on your end about that movie?
Rob’s gonna get all his ducks in line or whatever. All around the world people are asking for that movie, but I might do it myself.
You recently played the DC character Breacher on The Flash.
Yeah! The Flash! That is so much fun. They are so cool. Anytime you walk into a sitcom, everybody is family and look at me like an outsider. But they [The Flash] pull you in and all of a sudden you’re just family. They make you family. I’ll be doing The Flash more. TV is great, but it’s an everyday job.
There’s a big crossover coming soon, “Crisis on Infinite Earths.” Will you be a part of it?
If they call me, I’m there.
3 From Hell releases in theaters on September 16.