Demian Bichir lines up pair of projects

Oscar-nominated thesp joins 'Machete Kills,' Friedkin's indie thriller

Hot off his first Oscar nomination for his perf in “A Better Life,” Mexican thesp Demian Bichir is in negotiations to join Robert Rodriguez’s “Machete Kills,” and sources also tell Variety that Bichir has been tapped to star in William Friedkin’s next film, the indie thriller “Trapped.”

Details on Bichir’s role in “Machete Kills” remain under wraps, though he’ll play an Israeli operative in the Friedkin pic, according to sources. Bichir will shoot the “Machete” sequel in early June, while “Trapped” will lens early next year.

Bichir has been in high demand since garnering strong reviews for “A Better Life,” as Oliver Stone recruited him for the star-studded ensemble of his upcoming drug drama “Savages,” which Universal opens July 6.

Furthermore, sources told Variety late last year that director J.J. Abrams had expressed interest in casting Bichir as the villain in “Star Trek 2,” but the actor had already committed to starring in a Mexican stage production of “Swimming With Sharks” that his younger brother Bruno was directing. Bichir had already delayed his participation in the play to topline “A Better Life” and recur on Showtime’s “Weeds,” so rather than bailing for another major Hollywood film, he stayed true to his word and honored his commitment to his brother.

Bichir’s bigscreen breakout role was playing Fidel Castro in Steven Soderbergh’s two-part epic “Che.” Thesp also has Ian Power’s indie “The Runaway” in the can. He’s repped by CAA and manager Sekka Scher.