Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Interview: Danny Trejo Talks Ranchero

Some lower-budget films accurately portray the struggles people must over-come in order to succeed in life, as they not only reflect the limitations the characters face, but also the restrictions the filmmakers face. This is certainly true in the drama ‘Ranchero,’ which is now available on DVD. Not only does the lead character, Jesse Torres, must contend with the obstacles he encounters in the crime-ridden streets of his new life, but the production successfully adapted to its smaller budget. ‘Ranchero,’ which was directed by Richard Kaponas, follows Jesse, played by Roger Gutierrez, after the death of his parents. He leaves his childhood cattle ranch for the big city, where he reconnects with his friend Tom McCoy, portrayed by Brian Eric Johnson. Jesse soon finds himself in a neighborhood of drugs and gangs-Tom has become addicted to drugs and is in debt to the local gangs. Jesse finds solace with a local girl, Lil Bit, played by Christina Woods, but as their romance grows, he’s confronted by mobster Capone, portrayed by Danny Trejo, who owns her. Jesse now must make hard choices as he deals with a drug addicted best friend, an angry mobster and gaining his girlfriend’s freedom. Trejo generously took the time to discuss with us over the phone recently why he decided to appear in ‘Ranchero.’ He also spoke about the restrictions the film’s limited budget had on shooting, as compared to his bigger budget movies, including ‘Machete’ and its upcoming sequel ‘Machete Kills.’ The actor also revealed why he decided to reprise his role of Goldberg in the upcoming third installment in the ‘Death Race’ series, ‘Inferno.’ ShockYa (SY): You play the neighborhood mobster, Capone, who owns Jesse’s girlfriend, Lil’ Bit, in ‘Ranchero.’ What was it about the character and the script that convinced you to take on the role? Danny Trejo (DT): Well, I didn’t even know the character. I did this as a favor to a friend of mine, the director-producer’s brother. He asked me if I would do a favor for his younger brother, and I said, of course. So that’s how I got involved in the project. Then I saw the character, and I said, okay, I can do this. I can do this as an act of love for a friend of mine. SY: Speaking of Richard Kaponas, the director, ‘Ranchero’ is his feature film directorial debut. What was your working relationship with Richard like, particularly since this was his first time directing a film? DT: I’ve worked with a lot of first-time directors, in a lot of student films. As long as you nurse them along, they seem to get it right. He knows what he’s doing. He was a little unsure of himself, but he put it together. SY: What were your working relationships with your co-stars like, particularly Roger Gutierrez, who played Jesse, and Christina Woods, who played Lil’ Bit? DT: I make it my job to get along with people. (laughs) It makes the world a lot simpler. SY: ‘Ranchero’ had a limited budget of $900,000. Did that place any kind of limitations on what you could shoot for the film? DT: Well, the limitations were on the production, but they could ask me to do whatever they wanted to in the time they had available. To continue reading this interview, please click here.

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