Need a little blood and gore in your life this weekend? Over-the-top assassin Machete Danny Trejo has returned for more mayhem in the Machete sequel called Machete Kills, in theaters.
The unstoppable hero, who famously escaped down a villain’s intestines in the first movie, was at the Soho Beach House Hotel to talk about the latest, along with costar Alexa Vega and director Robert Rodriguez.
Machete Kills is a reunion for the old gang, who first met on the set of Rodriguez’s more innocent Spy Kids, in 2001.
“I was a little kid back then,” says Vega, 25. “These guys are like my family. I’ve grown up with them.”
Spy Kids, about pint-sized secret agents, introduced the world to Uncle Machete Cortez, who really has taken on a life of his own.
“Machete was Robert’s idea. He said I have the perfect character for you. You don’t have to do anything, just show up,” explains Trejo, who later reappeared as the craggy faced killer in a fake trailer in Quentin Tarantino and Rodriguez’s horror spoof Grindhouse. “But I thought that was it, a done deal. But fans demanded more. Now it’s going to be Machete Saves the Old Age Home!”
Part of Machete’s appeal is that no death is too fantastic. In Machete Kills, there are numerous ingenious ways to meet your maker, one of them being turned inside out. Um, ouch?
Trejo’s OK with all the destruction.
“People ask me, ‘Don’t you feel like Robert pushed the envelope?’ And I say, ‘What envelope?’ That envelope was off the table a long time ago.”
Adds Rodriguez: “I start with asking myself, ‘What’s the line that can’t be crossed?’ Then I start on that side.”
Vega, who was born in Miami and spent part of her childhood in Ocala, approves: “ Machete movies are not gore to make you cringe, but laugh. It’s action adventure comedy.”
Part of the adventure is in the genius casting: Mel Gibson, Lady Gaga and Sofia Vergara as villains and Charlie Sheen as the president.
Rodriguez can take full credit for this, too.
“People know the iconic nature of these larger-than-life people,” he explains. “And they wanted to come play in this world, too. It was fun to wrangle that and have people wondering, ‘OK, well, how’s that gonna work?’ Then you see the movie and can’t imagine anyone else in those parts.”
Sheen and Gibson on one movie set. Any antics?
“Actually, everyone worked together really well,” Rodriguez explains. “They’ve all got their different energies that seemed to complement each other. I chose people for their artistry and well-roundedness and multiple talents.”
The shoot was crazy fast: 29 days. Just the way Rodriguez rolls.
“You’re not going to get in everything that you wrote, but that’s where the best moments come in,” he says. “You end up having to improvise just to get it done.”
Trejo prefers the pace.
“I’m one of them people with ADD. I can’t sit still for a minute. I always have to be moving and doing something.”
At 69, how is that possible?
“I stay in shape; at my age, I have to. I used to go to the 24-hour gym at like 1:30 in the morning, but fans started finding out and it got crowded so I built a gym in my house and that works better,” he says. “I walk a lot and stretch, push-ups. I’m not going to say I do Pilates. Machete doesn’t do Pilates.”