Let’s say you are the producers of the El Rey Network’s “From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series.” To give a little more punch to the second season – starting Tuesday, Aug. 25 – you want to add a dark, mysterious character who looks like he would be just as inclined to snap your neck as shake your hand.
Who do you call?
It was an easy decision for “From Dusk Till Dawn” executive producer Carlos Coto and director Robert Rodriguez (the man who launched the macho-oriented cable network). They only person for the job is Danny Trejo.
The actor takes on the role of The Regulator this season in the series that’s based on the 1996 feature film starring George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino. The TV series looks at the next chapters in the lives of the infamous Gecko brothers, the Fullers and the Culebra underworld.
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Trejo jokes that the Rodriguez had no choice in the matter when it came to his casting: “I threaten Robert on a daily basis to be in anything he does,” Trejo says with an evil laugh.
Rodriguez told Trejo that he had a character called The Regulator that he wanted him to play. Trejo was intrigued immediately by the name and his interest in playing the part grew the more he talked with Rodriguez about this character who is pure evil.
“This is a character you can kill but he keeps coming back. That’s always a nice thing for an actor,” Trejo says.
The role in “From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series” is one of the 300 credits Trejo has amassed since 1983 and the list keeps growing. He has 23 films either ready to be released or to start filming in the next two years. Trejo has even added voice work to his credits with “The Book of Life” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” TV series.
Trejo has done at least 4 films a year since the 1990s.
Trejo approaches every role the same way.
“People ask me how I prepare for a role. I show up. When they cast me, I’m not going to be a Tom Cruise character or a Brad Pitt,” Trejo says. “But, I love it. I show up, look into the camera and say ‘OK. I’m the baddest thing alive.’ And, it seems to be working. Robert loves that. Sometimes, he will say ‘Danny, quit acting!’”
Working with Rodriguez is a joy for Trejo, who has also done “Machete Kills,” “Machete” and “Desperado” with Rodriguez. The pair work well together because they share a passion for the filmmaking process.
“I love working with people who care about every part of making a movie. Not just directing but the lighting, the set, the makeup, the wardrobe. If you look at Robert’s cast, nine times out of 10, they will be just as passionate about making movies as Robert,” Trejo says.
That’s why Trejo has so many credits. He was told when he started acting that “a busy man has time to do everything” and he lives by that when it comes to taking on roles.
Trejo was in Russia the day before sitting down to talk about “From Dusk Till Dawn,” and he will be off to another set the next day. That kind of whirlwind life is why Trejo, 71, can’t understand why people keep asking him about retiring.
“I would say ‘retire from what?’ My job consists of something I love doing. I’m blessed,” Trejo says. “I knew this was a great job after I got my first paycheck.”
Trejo, Esai Morales, Jeff Fahey and Briana Evigan join the cast that includes D.J. Cotrona, Zane Holtz, Jesse Garcia, Eiza Gonzalez, Wilmer Valderrama and Madison Davenport.
“From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series”
- 9 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 25, El Rey Network