Danny Trejo – Death Race 2 (DVD)

January 21, 2011 by  
Filed under Chaléwood, Interviews

Coming off the first lead role of his career in “Machete” last year, actor Danny Trejo is as busy as always. Slated to star in about 15 films in 2011 according to imdb.com, Trejo’s most recent project is “Death Race 2,” a prequel to the violent 2008 action thriller remake about prisoners who participate in a brutal car race to win their freedom.

During an interview with me, Trejo, 66, talked about why people stay away from him when he’s behind the wheel of one of his lowriders and who he hopes to hang out with when he shoots “The Muppets” movie this year.

Tell me about your character Goldberg in “Death Race 2.”

You know, it caught me by surprise when they told me they wanted me to play a character named Goldberg. I said, “Whaaaaat?!” (Laughs) Goldberg is a lead mechanic in the prison. He’s chingón (badass) when it comes to working on cars.

Are you pretty knowledgeable under the hood of a car in real life?

Yeah, on older cars, but I don’t mess with anything new. I got a ’36 Dodge I got all cherried-out, a ’52 Chevy pickup, and a ’76 Cadillac DeVille that I work on all the time. But they’re not really race cars, they’re lowriders.

So, are you more of a defensive or offensive driver?

(Laughs) Let’s just say if I’m bumping loud sounds [in my lowrider] people stay away from me.

Did any of the cars on the set of “Death Race 2” catch your eye?

I loved all of them. You have to know, these cars weren’t made to carry the weight they had on them. They had a lot of steel and metal. It wasn’t like driving a regular car. It was like driving a tank. To make a turn, you had to start turning about five second before you would usually start turning. The stunt guys were amazing. They were doing about 80 mph in them. I did about 30 mph.

You’re known for your countless movie roles, but recently you did an TV episode of “Modern Family” on ABC. What was that experience like?

Standing next to Sofia Vergara – damn! She’s beautiful. I had done a TV series with her before called “Nights in Prosperity.” She was a lot of fun.

You get to work with all the beautiful ladies. Sofia Vergara, Jessica Alba in “Machete,” and now Tanit Phoenix in “Death Race 2.”

Phoenix was worth the trip to Cape Town, South Africa (location where “Death Race 2” was shot). She is just so warmhearted. She’s actually from Cape Town, so she showed me around. I got to see South Africa from somebody who really knows it. It was a blast.

Do you think she would make a good superheroine? Her name has come up in rumors to play Wonder Woman in the DC Comics movie.

Yeah, she’s got these long legs that can kick you in the face! She actually looks a little bit like Lynda Carter (the actress who played Wonder Woman in the original 1975 TV series). They’d be stupid if they don’t get her.

Who would win in a fight: Wonder Woman or Machete?

Wonder Woman because Machete would give up real quick. (Laughs) He’d be trying to make out with her.

What’s going on with “The Muppets” movie? Are you officially signed on for that?

Yeah, but I don’t know what they got me cast as yet. I just have to be the pretty face and show up. I want to be one of the old grouchy guys on the balcony (Statler and Waldorf).

Any other favorite Muppets?

Miss Piggy. I have a dog named Miss Piggy. I’m going to bring her to the set. She’s a little fat pit bull. She’s only 18 inches tall, but she weights about 90 lbs. She’s got more personality than anybody. We started to paint her nails, so now she puts her paw up.

Tanit Phoenix – Death Race 2 (DVD)

January 21, 2011 by  
Filed under Interviews

Supermodel and actress Tanit Phoenix might be fairly new to the Hollywood spotlight, but she’s quickly becoming a name on everyone’s radar.

Originally from South Africa, Phoenix is on a short list of actresses for a future movie role as DC Comics super heroine Wonder Woman. Her name was also linked to rumors about being cast as Catwoman for “The Dark Knight Rises” before Anne Hathaway was officially announced as the character.

Currently, Phoenix, 30, is doing publicity for her most recent movie “Death Race 2,” which will be released on DVD and Blu-ray Jan. 18. In the film, she plays Katrina Banks, an ex-military sniper who is sent to prison for killing a superior officer.

“Making this movie was sexy, dangerous and mysterious,” Phoenix told me during a phone interview. “You get to see what Katrina is all about when she pulls a machine gun off of a Mustang and blows up the car behind her.”

Phoenix also talks about holding her own with a mostly male cast and what it would be like to be cast as an iconic comic book character.

What led you to acting from modeling and how did you get involved with “Death Race 2?”

I’ve wanted to be an actress since I was six years old. It wasn’t an easy thing to do coming from South Africa. Over time, more films started shooting there. I started campaigning for bigger roles. That’s how I got the role in “Death Race 2.” They created my character by combining two other characters. I went into the audition really wanting this role.

What was it like on a set with a cast full of men and the testosterone levels flowing high?

It was easy! I grew up with boys. I was a tomboy. It was like walking onto a set that was already my home. When I was young my dad used to race cars. He was actually a professional skydiver so I’ve done it all – skydiving, bungee jumping, scuba diving, horse riding, Muay Thai. It’s all second nature to me.

So, getting physical for “Death Race 2” wasn’t difficult at all?

I know a lot of the stunt guys, so I got to work with them before going in to shoot my scenes. I know how to throw a punch. I’m a ballsy girl so it was easy for me. Whenever I say I’m a tomboy guys are like, “But you’re in a dress and high heels and you have make up on!” But that’s only when I’m in front on the camera. When I’m mountain climbing I’m more of a hippie.

How has transitioning from South Africa to the U.S. worked out for you so far?

Well, I’ve been here for only three months and I already booked a role on a new upcoming HBO series called “Femme Fatales” about women who kill men. I was told not to tell too many girls about that because they’d probably slap me around. I was very lucky to have booked something so fast. I found a job right away, so the transition was very easy.

What other projects are you working on?

I’m shooting a movie in London called “Latin Quarter.” It’s a story about Pablo Picasso when he was younger. I play a French aristocrat who gets between Picasso and his best friend. It’s a very dramatic character, so I’m excited.

It must also be really exciting to hear your name come up during conversations about which actress should be cast to play Wonder Woman. Is there truth to this?

Yes, there’s truth to the rumor. I went in to audition for Wonder Woman at Warner Bros. I’m keeping hope and maybe I will get involved in the project. She has a great mythology and would be an amazing character to play. Every girl dreams to have this role. Even being considered is an amazing feeling.