The Break
by The Break

Action fans definitely recognise Danny Trejo's face. This rugged Latino has the look of a hardened thug, and Hollywood uses this advantage to the fullest, casting him in various villainous roles and eye-catching supporting parts. Con-Air, Desperado, Heat, xXx, and TV shows like Breaking Bad, are but a small fraction of his impressive resume. It wasn't until 2010's Machete, and its sequel Machete Kills, that he was turned into the main hero of a movie. Now in his 70s, Danny Trejo shows no sign of stopping and is now getting a documentary on his film career as well as his equally amazing personal life.

Trejo is a frequent collaborator with director Robert Rodriguez. They had no idea they are cousins until they worked on Desperado

Trejo may look standoffish, but he's actually one of the nicest actors you could meet. A warm, welcoming guy with a sense of humour, he dedicates his time to helping at-risk youth and is also fine with working on student films with little to no pay just so aspiring filmmakers can have a big name attached to their work. His passion for helping young people is understandable once you realise that Trejo was a real life criminal during his youth and that he spent the first half of his life in and out of prison. Growing up in crime-addled Pacoima, California, he first used heroin at 12, went to jail at 15, and was sentenced to the infamous San Quentin at 23 after a busted drug deal. After finally quitting life as a criminal, he worked as a youth drug counsellor, and in 1985 got a chance to be Eric Roberts's boxing coach for the film Runaway Train. Screenwriter Edward Bunker, also an ex-convict, recognised Trejo, with whom he had done time at San Quentin, and introduced him to the film industry. The rest is action cinema history.

“Kids, once upon a time, there was a man named Machete who jumped off a building using another man’s intestines as a rope. Also, Drugs are bad.”

The documentary focusing on Trejo's life, Inmate #1, will be released sometime in 2018. Trejo's latest big-screen effort is Storks, where he voices Jasper, a giant stork.

Left: Trejo as Jasper in Storks. Right: Trejo as himself in Inmate#1