×

Listen: Benicio Del Toro Was Initially Skeptical of Doing a ‘Sicario’ Sequel

PLAYBACK is a Variety / iHeartRadio podcast bringing you conversations with the talents behind many of today’s hottest films. New episodes air every Thursday.

Sequels to movies like “Sicario” are pretty rare, so it’s a gift for an actor like Benicio Del Toro to get a chance at expanding on a character such as Alejandro, the cold and broken hitman from Denis Villeneuve’s 2015 thriller. His performance in “Sicario: Day of the Soldado” is just as penetrating as his laureled work last time, and it’s part of a major moment for the actor, who also recently starred in massive blockbusters “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” and “Avengers: Infinity War.”

Listen to the latest episode of PLAYBACK below.

Click here for more episodes.

“When we got the word they were planning to do a sequel, I was skeptical,” Del Toro says of the new film. “When I got Taylor [Sheridan]’s script, it was original, unpredictable and truthful. As I was reading it there were a lot of ‘oh s—‘ moments. The character evolves and this journey brings humanity back to the character. I thought that was an interesting way to make a character change. And it seemed believable. It’s also a throwback to the movies I grew up liking.”

Del Toro’s cinematic awakening came in the 1970s, when American cinema wasn’t afraid to showcase characters defined by their frailty, or themes about “the futility of effort,” as he puts it.

“I didn’t think about being an actor until I was in college. The first couple of days my first year, that’s when I first signed up for an acting class,” Del Toro says. “But growing up, my dad loved John Wayne movies. We saw a lot of westerns, Clint Eastwood movies. Later on, Eddie Murphy was someone that I really ran to see his films. But I remember seeing a movie called ‘At Close Range,’ Christopher Walken and Sean Penn. I remember watching Sean Penn in that movie and going, ‘That’s what I want to do.'”

Del Toro describes himself as an introvert, in contrast to his “Soldado” co-star Josh Brolin, who is the life of the set between “cut” and “action.” It’s an interesting quality given the eccentricity of many of the characters Del Toro has portrayed, from Fenster in “The Usual Suspects” to Dr. Gonzo in “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” to his ongoing appearances as The Collector in Marvel Studios releases (most recently seen in “Avengers: Infinity War”).

“I’m shy to an extent,” Del Toro says. “One of the things I liked about acting when I first started was when I got up on the stage I had an excuse, that really, it’s not me. So I could explore. It’s some kind of shell of some sort. It’s complicated because I think you draw from your life and personal experiences. That’s the first thing you go to, like, ‘What would I do if I was in that position?’ So you bring who you are. It’s the combination of it being an out-of-body experience and being truthful to who you are. It’s a contradiction.”

Speaking of The Collector, what’s been the most surprising aspect of being a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

“Having a ride in Disneyland, my man,” Del Toro says. “That’s far out. I still don’t believe it!”

For more, including talk of how being a part of the “Star Wars” series is “the dream of the inner child” and what winning an Oscar for “Traffic” meant for his career, listen to the latest episode of “Playback” via the streaming link above.

iHeartRadio
Hear more episodes of “Playback” at iHeartRadio.
Subscribe via iTunes.

Benecio Del Toro photographed exclusively for the Variety Playback Podcast
Dan Doperalski for Variety

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Jamile Wenske

    Jamila Wenske Leaves One Two Films to Head Achtung Panda! in Berlin

    German producer Jamila Wenske has left One Two Films to head Achtung Panda!, a Berlin-based film production company. Wenske succeeds former managing director Helge Albers, who left Achtung Panda! to become the new CEO of regional funder Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein. Wenske partnered with Sol Bondy and Christoph Lange to launch One Two Films in 2010. [...]

  • Tuva-Novotny

    Tuva Novotny Questions Monogamy in 'Diorama' Pic (EXCLUSIVE)

    HAUGESUND, Norway  — Actress-turned-helmer Tuva Novotny thrives on big challenges. Her feature debut “Blindspot,” Norway’s entry for the 2019 Nordic Council Prize, was shot in real-time in one take and illuminates mental health issues. Her sophomore mainstream Swedish pic “Britt Marie Was Here” –slated for a Sept. 20 U.S. release via Cohen Media Group –  [...]

  • Seizure

    Writer Megan Gallagher On Her Viaplay Supernatural Nordic-Noir 'Seizure'

    With outposts in Copenhagen, Stockholm and Oslo, Miso Film has become one of the most influential film and TV outfits in Scandinavia. On August 19, the company’s Norwegian arm lifted the curtain on its series venture, the supernatural police drama “Seizure” by premiering the show’s first two episodes at the Haugesund Film Festival ahead of [...]

  • Thoma-Robsahm

    World Partners Board “a-ha The Movie” as Helmer Tells It All (EXCLUSIVE)

    HAUGESUND, Norway  — Pitched at Haugesund’s New Nordic Films confab, Thomas Robsahm and Aslaug Holm’s doc “a-ha -The Movie” won’t hit screens before November 2020, but an array of new production and distribution partners have already boarded the project. Clementina Hegewisch of Neue Impuls and Matthias Greving of Kinescope Film in Germany are now co-producing [...]

  • “@Chica-Chile-Norway”

    Miso Film Norway Unveils ‘Tainted’ Details, Drive to Target Youth Audiences (EXCLUSIVE)

    HAUGESUND, Norway  — Miso Film Norge, the Oslo-based arm of one of the most prominent of Scandinavian production outfits whose credits include “1864,” Warrior“ and Netflix’s “The Rain,” has part lifted the curtain on its latest scripted venture, the teen revenge-thriller “Tainted.” The TV outfit produced the 8×30 series in collaboration with Norwegian public broadcaster [...]

  • The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon

    Film News Roundup: Stephen King's 'Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon' Movie in the Works

    In today’s film news roundup, a Stephen King horror movie is in the works, “Downton Abbey” is seeing strong sales and a project about Revolutionary War soldier Deborah Sampson is in development. KING ADAPTATION Stephen King’s “The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon” has been set up as a movie at George A. Romero’s Sanibel Films, [...]

  • Moviepass

    MoviePass Confirms Security Issue With Customer Records

    MoviePass, the struggling movie ticket subscription service, has confirmed a security issue may have exposed customers’ records. In a statement, MoviePass said Wednesday that the security lapse was recently discovered and its system was immediately secured. News of the data breach was first reported Tuesday by TechCrunch, which alleged that tens of thousands of customer [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content