Oscar no bueno: Ex-con-turned-icon Danny Trejo's happier being an action star who's real life inspires others than an award-winner.
Danny Trejo may be the only actor in Hollywood with no aspirations to collect any acting trophies.
“I don't care about an Oscar,” Trejo, who stars as the unlikely named inmate Goldberg in the recent DVD release “Death Race 2,” tells PopcornBiz. “That's not even a thought. Just let me keep working. I can't wait until I'm 80 and I can play the real old Mafia boss.”
The “Machete” star (who hopes a planned sequel to that film comes together) says he’s happy to have risen from a recognizable character actor to a near icon in action flicks. “I just can't wait to go to work in the morning – just like, 'Whoa!' because you know it's going to be an adventure,” he says. “I love action movies. It's like if there ain't four or five killings within the first three minutes I'm asleep. I love movies that just say, 'Wake up. Get ready. Hold on. Here we go.' You have to have three ‘B's’ for a good movie: babes, bullets, and blood.”
More rewarding to Trejo than any acting honor is the feedback from fans who find inspiration in his journey from ex-con to Hollywood star. “I love the responsibility. The only people that don't want to be role models are people that are doing something wrong. If your kids want to pattern their lives after me after coming out of prison, that's fine – I'll help you with it. My passion is trying to keep kids off a path that's so destructive they end up in prison.”
Trejo while filming a recent movie “one of the guys that worked on the crew came up and gave me a hug and said 'Thank you for giving me my son. He saw your video while he was in jail and it changed his life.’ To be blessed with being able to help somebody like that is the biggest reward in the world.”
Even though he’s tempted to test speed limits with his collection of “cherried-out” custom cars (he’s got a '76 Cadillac Seville, a '52 Chevy pickup and a 1936 Dodge sedan, among others), he’s managed not to run afoul of the law again – with a little assist from his film roles.
“I gotta say, thank God for 'Heat,’” he laughs, “because every police officer that has ever stopped me has said 'Oh, "Heat" is my favorite movie. You know everything that Michael Mann did in that movie is tactically correct.' And then they say 'Take it easy'.”