Benicio Del Toro

21 Grams

In Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s “21 Grams,” Benicio Del Toro — whom his director describes as “a complex, interior soul” — delivers an intense performance as Jack Jordan, a born-again ex-con and father who’s tortured by the prospect of reverting to his old ways. But rather than babble on about his demons, the character internalizes them, a trait that seems to fit Del Toro to a T.

“There’s something there with Benicio, he’s a guy who’s always contemplating,” Gonzalez says. “His silences are very powerful.”

The intricately woven, nonlinear story about three lives ravaged by one fateful accident gave the thesp another opportunity to play an intense role, something that he has become known for (most notably as the morally suspect cop in “Traffic,” a supporting perf that earned him the Academy Award). Through Del Toro, Jack simmers over issues of faith, guilt and free will, as he deals with being the source of several families’ pain.

Having seamlessly stepped into the part, it’s hard to imagine that Gonzalez once considered casting Del Toro as Paul, the character ultimately played by Sean Penn, and vice versa.

“(Penn) often plays that edgy part, so in a way Jack was the obvious role for him,” the director says. “But then I thought the opposite would be very interesting, and I’m glad that I did that … Benicio’s a perfect match for Jack. He has a big presence, physically and spiritually.”

Del Toro arrived in Memphis about four months prior to shooting — he was the first actor on set, according to Gonzalez — to develop the character in weekly powwows with the director. The thesp also met with several local preachers and congregations.

“The way he accepted this project, the way he approached it, it’s a dream for any director,” Gonzalez says. “I was so honored by the integrity that he showed doing this project, instead of the other million-dollar things. That’s what I call an artist.”

Coming attractions: “The Rum Diary,” “The Lost City,” “Che,” “Chaos”

More Film

  • HAF Project Market Unwraps 16th Edition

    HAF Project Market Unveils 16th Edition

    In Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s “21 Grams,” Benicio Del Toro — whom his director describes as “a complex, interior soul” — delivers an intense performance as Jack Jordan, a born-again ex-con and father who’s tortured by the prospect of reverting to his old ways. But rather than babble on about his demons, the character internalizes them, […]

  • Filming on Italy to Honor Monica

    Monica Bellucci and Gina Lollobrigida to Be Honored at L.A. Italian Culture Festival

    In Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s “21 Grams,” Benicio Del Toro — whom his director describes as “a complex, interior soul” — delivers an intense performance as Jack Jordan, a born-again ex-con and father who’s tortured by the prospect of reverting to his old ways. But rather than babble on about his demons, the character internalizes them, […]

  • Mary Elizabeth Winstead to Co-Star With

    Mary Elizabeth Winstead to Co-Star With Will Smith in Skydance's 'Gemini Man'

    In Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s “21 Grams,” Benicio Del Toro — whom his director describes as “a complex, interior soul” — delivers an intense performance as Jack Jordan, a born-again ex-con and father who’s tortured by the prospect of reverting to his old ways. But rather than babble on about his demons, the character internalizes them, […]

  • Wide Release on Christian Bale's 'Hostiles'

    Film News Roundup: Wide Release on Christian Bale's 'Hostiles' Moved Back a Week

    In Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s “21 Grams,” Benicio Del Toro — whom his director describes as “a complex, interior soul” — delivers an intense performance as Jack Jordan, a born-again ex-con and father who’s tortured by the prospect of reverting to his old ways. But rather than babble on about his demons, the character internalizes them, […]

  • Sundance Womens March

    Sundance: How Will Festival Tackle #MeToo, Political Turmoil, and More?

    In Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s “21 Grams,” Benicio Del Toro — whom his director describes as “a complex, interior soul” — delivers an intense performance as Jack Jordan, a born-again ex-con and father who’s tortured by the prospect of reverting to his old ways. But rather than babble on about his demons, the character internalizes them, […]

  • 'Maktub' Review: Palm Springs Film Festival

    Film Review: 'Maktub'

    In Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s “21 Grams,” Benicio Del Toro — whom his director describes as “a complex, interior soul” — delivers an intense performance as Jack Jordan, a born-again ex-con and father who’s tortured by the prospect of reverting to his old ways. But rather than babble on about his demons, the character internalizes them, […]

  • DEADPOOL

    MPAA: Film, TV Industry Paid Out $49 Billion in 2016

    In Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s “21 Grams,” Benicio Del Toro — whom his director describes as “a complex, interior soul” — delivers an intense performance as Jack Jordan, a born-again ex-con and father who’s tortured by the prospect of reverting to his old ways. But rather than babble on about his demons, the character internalizes them, […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content