Sicario: Day of Soldado–Interview with Oscar Winning Star Benicio (Traffic) Del Toro

Sicario: Day of Soldado

Working with Stefano

Benicio Del Toro: You know, what makes him…the best directors I’ve worked with…his ability to listen and to collaborate. And he did all that with this film, which I thought it was kind of like he was stepping into something that was a little difficult because he’s coming in from Italy to America to do an American movie, that is a sequel with two actors who have already played the roles already, so he could have clamped down and he didn’t, he was a very open. And I love that he took his time. He’s got that great, an Italian sense of humor, which is also as good, and a Latin sense of humor that I understand. I think unlike Denis who was a Canadian, I think their approach to violence is a little bit different. Stefano’s Romano, he puts it right in the Coliseum. (Laughter) We all watch it, much more Roman that way. So, he shows the violence straight up a little bit, Denis just kind of suggested a little bit more.

 

Suggestions and Feedback

BDT: He was great with that. But I think had he not done that would have been…we’d still be shooting the film. But no, no, it was great and very gentle when it comes to that. And he’s got great manners too, I think everybody liked him. I think the producers liked him. The whole cast, crew like him. You should be proud of him.

 

Sequel

BDT: I was like a little scared because I thought “Sicario” and what it tried to do, I thought it did pretty good in what it tried to do, and I think is a good movie. And I felt like, wow, we’re going to do another one and the director is not going to be around. The director of photography is not going to be around. So, I was I was a little weird about it. And then I got the script, and I thought the script was original. And it did have a lot of unpredictable moments that started okay, well let’s give it a shot. Stefano walked in, made us feel a little bit…I think a lot of the thing that the director needs to do in the stage of doing a movie that what Stefano did very well and just, he’s got to be the leader, he’s got to be the first one leading the troops in a way. And Stefano jumping in and saying he was going to do it was like god is all moving. And so that’s how I felt. But there was a little bit of that.

 

Franchise

BDT: Let’s see how this one does because I think…but if, if they asked, yeah, I mean I’m involved in it, I’m a part of it and it’d be interesting to see where Taylor Sheridan the writer would take the story. He said that he always saw this, this Sicario as a trilogy. He said before, after the first one, before we shot the second one, it suddenly became a trilogy.

 

Film’s Emotional Core

BDT: Every movie I do, I’m the emotional core. (Laughter).  Most of my screen characters have conflict, they have obstacles to overcome, whether they’re emotional or external, whether they’re inside, they have obstacles. I think these are interesting characters to explore. Those are the characters that I’ve read in literature and I like, and I think they’re…life is kind of like that. Not for everybody, but we all have our ups and downs, and we all have to deal with some conflict. So, these characters that you mentioned there, in a way, I kind of invite them. They picked me too; these characters come and find me too. So, it’s not just a one-way thing.

Life is just a strange, you do believe in something else. So, if you believe in something else, you don’t understand what I’m talking about, but they find me too. I think these characters, I’m just saying I am attracted to those characters because of what I said, conflict, it’s the conflict of the obstacles, whether there are obstacles with their personality or obstacles that are way from the outside. It’s interesting to see that effort. In “Soldado” there was “Sicario –Day of Soldado” I think that, my character through this journey of some sort of a nightmare because he has to reenact what the people he despises did to his daughter and suddenly he is doing the same thing to an innocent young girl in order to get the drug cartels to fight. And then suddenly he puts this young girl through the same experiences, the same horror that his daughter probably went through before they killed her. So, this mirror becomes his medicine to rehabilitate too because he’s a heartless killer we met in the last film. And that started breaking him and allowing him to have a conscience. And so, he is rehabilitated through this journey with the girl. And by that he’s not innocent, that’s not going to change what he’s done but is rehabilitated. I think that he knows there is a conscience there, he stops, when the order comes to kill the girl he stops. And he does the right moral choice.  So, he’s in a way…and I think life is like that. Sometimes you need to…it’s like the saying, to know how a man thinks or how he feels, walk a mile in their shoes.  So, in a way, he’s walking a mile in the shoes of his daughter by doing that. So, he’s doing the action. So, it’s kind of like he just…it’s the medicine that shows that maybe at 100 does have a heart. But I’m not saying he’s a good guy and we should forgive him for everything else he’s done because everything he’s doing is illegal. (Laughter) I know that everything he’s doing is illegal.

 

Josh Brolin

BDT: My relationship with Josh, well, first of all, it’s based on mutual respect and we both know how difficult it is to be an actor and how difficult it is to try to be any good. I’m a fan of his work. He’s very professional. Josh is one of those actors that don’t lie when he acts, he doesn’t lie, just like one of those tells the truth all the time. I feel like, that in these movies, these “Sicario” movies that we’ve done, we’ve become closer and that he is really important for the…if we’re going to call this a franchise. Because every time after we do a scene, he is extremely funny, after. He does have a great sense of humor. Him and Jeffrey Donovan, both of them are hilarious, and it’s not distracting. It actually helps…the movie’s really intense, and there’s a lot of action, a lot of stuff and a lot of doubts…that happens with every movie, so add that on top of this, but the fact that they make it fun, and I’d like to say that he turns it into, hair dressing salon (Laughter). When you’re in a hairdressing salon and you always talk, and you’re talking about gossips and you’re laughing. So, he turns the set into hairdressing salon in a way. And he’s the instigator and you can’t fight it. And I think it helps the movie. It does help so the movie doesn’t get bogged down.

It’s trust. Absolutely knowing him well, you trust him. And when we sit down, and we talk about our characters, it’s not like, oh, he’s trying to edge me on this or he’s trying to take this or he’s trying to get more screen time or any of that stuff. So, there’s trust.  I really don’t think how you could do this without his character or my character. But, no, but really, I don’t know how you could do this. It’d be nice to bring Emily Blunt back. I tell you that, we miss her. But, I talked to Taylor and is up to the public who are going to see the movie and reacting to this and it’s up to the studio, really.

 

Sex Vs. Politics

BDT: Sex is more powerful than politics. You show me sex and I’m going to look at it. You show me politics I’m not going to look at it. (Laughter) I’m not even going to listen to it.

We can’t talk about the sex of this movie, because there’s nothing. There is no politics in this movie in my opinion. Here’s what happens. I think that…writers, storytellers…I did a movie in 2001 called “Traffic”. Okay. Now that movie really explores the whole dilemma. From that movie I’ve done several movies that have to do with the drug world, the drug wars. Sometimes it takes place between the border of Mexico and the United States, and sometimes it takes place in other places and other countries. But what I can tell you is that from 2001 to 2018, nothing has changed in the real world. Nothing. We still have problems with violence, problems with the drugs, with the border. There hasn’t been any change going on. But there’s been many other movies and TV shows that rotate or live in this world, exist in this world. The drug wars let’s call it the drug wars. In this world of the drug wars is a writer; a storyteller can actually explore in depth many aspects of the human condition, just like a writer could do the same thing in a western or a gangster movie, which are genres. And this drug wars stuff…movies, have become something like a genre in a way. And I participated in several movies that have to do with this. And maybe we can say that one of the ones that starts clocking this really straight up is the “French Connection”. There might be other movies before, but, that’s the one that I would say that marks it right there. And then after that you get “Scarface”, “Blow”, “Traffic” and then the TV shows the telenovelas, the narco telenovelas, it’s just gotten to another…. So, the writer uses this world to explore the human condition. And I think to “Sicario” does that. It uses what’s out there to explore this, the arc of these characters, the arc of these characters that we met. But you could take this story and maybe make it into a western pretty much or you could, it could be…so I don’t know the politics about it except that nothing has changed and perhaps it’s even gotten worse maybe. And definitely in some places has gotten worse. And there’s different things about it. Ok, so we talked about Mexico and the United States. It’s like, okay, Mexico makes the drugs, they buy it here, but what a lot of people don’t talk about, is the weapons that are being used down there, they come from here, from the US. So, there’s an exchange of violence that’s just gotten out of proportion, out of control. And I just think that the idea of this drug war and fighting fire with fire, fighting violence with violence, I don’t think it’s just the answer.

 

Favorite Movies

BDT: I like open-ended movies. I am not crazy about movies when they’re all wrapped up. I think life is a little bit open-ended in a way. I mean we’re going to die; life is going to go on. The world is going to go on. So, it’s open-ended. What was the other question?

Gomorrah the movie I didn’t see, but I saw the series, I didn’t see it until Stefano was considered.  Then I watched it, and I watched the first episode and you know, it was kind of like Brian De Palma-ish. There was that explosion in that coffee restaurant and a boom. I remember that. That was like, wow, it was that for real? we talked a little bit about it, and then he got hired. But I think that the producers were big fans of “Gomorrah”, but I didn’t know it before I met with him, and once I met with him. I watched it.

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