In April of 2007, I went to see a movie called Grindhouse in the theatre. It was actually a double feature, two films done by Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino, a sort-of homage to 80's style slasher/gore flicks complete with fake trailers between the two features.
It was, to this day, the single best movie-going experience I've ever had. The theatre in question, the Van East Cinema, is owned by a local Asian family who - appropriate for such a film - don't give a shit what you do so long as they get their cash. It was epic. People were passing around joints in the line, I walked in with a twelve pack under my arm, and as the lights went down my friend Frankie opened his trenchcoat and removed a bottle of rye, saying, in an Irish-Italian mafioso voice, "Perhaps we could strike up some kinda deal!?"
Amongst the fake trailers at the 'intermission' were Hobo With A Shotgun, Zombie Werewolves of the SS, and Machete. And guess what? Robert Rodriguez has gone ahead with his promise to make Machete into a full-length feature. Trailer is available here, and an excellent interview with star Danny Trejo ('Tortuga' on Breaking Bad) is available here.
AVC: How are you able to be so prolific?
DT: I love doing it. Let me tell you something. When I was young, I was an armed robber. I did robberies. And there’s no adrenaline rush like that. When you’re using drugs and doing robberies, it’s hard to distinguish whether you’re doing robberies to support your drug habit, or doing drugs to support your robbery habit. Those guys that flip on motorcycles—it’s like the same kind of adrenaline. It’s unreal. The only time I ever felt that was when I heard Andrey Konchalovskiy yell, “Action!” And then I was like, “Wow. Here we are again. This whole adrenaline—” But this time I didn’t have a gun. I was like, “Wow. This is awesome.” I just totally got hooked. I found my calling. And then when I got my check, I said, “Fuck.” [Laughs.] “Wait a minute. For the first half of my life, I went to prison for being a bad guy. Now they’re paying me to be a bad guy.”
AVC: Did you take acting classes?
DT: In 1985 it was a little different. I would just go with the extras and the director would see me. I was always Inmate No. 1, and I always had one line like, “Kill ’em all.” [Laughs.] It was like, “I can do this.” I remember a director handed me a shotgun and he said, “Kick in this door and take control.” There was a poker game going inside, and the director said there would be a couple of stunt people inside. He said to improvise. So I kick in the door, somebody jumps up, I bash them with the shotgun, and I ask this guy, “Oh, you wanna die, huh?” This lady starts screaming, and I put this gun right in her face. So the director yells, “Cut! Cut! God, Danny, where did you study?” I said, “Let me see. Von’s. Safeway. Thrifty Mart.” [Laughs.] So all this stuff I was doing, I just knew. You’ve got to remember, I was Inmate No. 1 for the first five years of my career. So shit, I know how to be an inmate.
Scheduled for release on September 3rd and featuring a cast of - I find this hard to even comprehend - Robert de Niro, Steven Seagal, Lindsey Lohan, Michelle Rodriguez and Cheech Marin, not to mention Trejo, well, guess I know where I'll be.