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Danny Trejo Usually Plays Villains In Movies Parents Would Not Take Their Kids To, But He Opens Up About Why Minions: The Rise Of Gru Was A Perfect Fit

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Danny Trejo Usually Plays Villains In Movies Parents Would Not Take Their Kids To, But He Opens Up About Why Minions: The Rise Of Gru Was A Perfect Fit

Minions: The Rise of Gru has already proven itself to be an early smash hit in July 2022’s first box office weekend. Apparently knowing the material the fanbase is showing up for, Illumination’s tiny terrors have made a killing for more than just Peacock Premium subscribers. Though one shouldn’t forget the rest of the Minions sequels’ expertly-picked cast, especially actor Danny Trejo, who for several reasons was absolutely a perfect match for this voice-acting gig. 

In the latest Despicable Me adventure, the actor known for movies like From Dusk ’til Dawn and Machete plays a pretty bad dude named Stronghold. A member of the Vicious 6 super group, Trejo’s new role is akin to the role of Jaws in the James Bond franchise. Only instead of indestructible metal teeth, it’s his hands that happen to be made of metallic menace.

During our interview for Minions 2, Trejo ran through the usual bag of tricks people might peg him as pulling from in his career. As someone who generally plays evil or anti-heroic characters in movies parents are more likely to be watching without their kids, even I was surprised at how perfect this casting was. This led to me asking just why Danny Trejo would be so sold on taking a voice acting gig where the audience is much younger than he’s used to. 

The answer is something that runs contrary to the image most associate Danny Trejo with. While he’s a great villain, as well as a fantastic R-rated ass kicker, Trejo’s role of Stronghold does hew close to some of the stuff you’ve seen him do in the past. And, as it turns out,  voice acting is something Danny Trejo told CinemaBlend he’s a really huge fan of:  

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In [Minions: The Rise of Gru] I’m bigger than Jean-Claude Van Damme. … It’s so much easier, because you work directly with the director. He doesn’t have 12 things to look at, he’s just looking at you. So its kind of like you’re working directly with the director. [Kyle Balda] was cool, he’s got this energy that’s awesome. Every time I’d change it, he’d say ‘No, no, no. Keep your voice.’ My voice is my voice, and every time it would change, he’d go, ‘Hold it, Trejo. You’re acting again.’ We just had a lot of fun doing it. … They love my laugh, I know that much.

Energy is key when talking to Danny Trejo, as the man will bring you in so many different directions, only to circle back to something you’d discussed previously. That’s far from a complaint though, as that sort of spirit stepped up our Minions: The RIse of Gru press day. In-between stories about how Trejo almost landed a key Sin City role, as well as tales of his many business ventures, the actor had nothing but love for Stronghold.

Riffing on his character’s appearance, Danny Trejo even remarked how, “the claws are good in a fight, but they’re tough for picking up toothpicks.” Even the fact that his character is physically bigger than Jean-Claude Van Damme’s heavy, aptly-named Jean Clawed, excited Trejo as we discussed the latest Minions movie. As we compared his Stronghold performance with his previous resume of armed figures of action, even Trejo couldn’t help but get a laugh out of this next thought: 

That is funny. ‘I’m talking to Danny Trejo, and he’s going to be in the Minions. He’s been killed more times than anybody in film, and he’s played the bad guy in every movie he’s in.’ Well I’m still a bad guy in [Minions: Rise of Gru], I’m part of the Vicious 6.

Sean Bean might have something to say about that claim of being killed in every movie he’s been in, but the point still stands. You wouldn’t expect the man to love voice acting so much, but Danny Trejo has such a blast doing it that he and his representatives keep accepting projects like Minions: The Rise of Gru. 

Digging into the process of recording his voice role, you can see why Trejo was such a good choice for Stronghold. Further voicing his enthusiasm, perhaps the most important ingredient to Danny Trejo’s energy toward any project is his healthy inner child. It’s definitely something his family credits, as he further explains and exhibits below: 

[I’m] still the same guy. They asked my daughter when she was interviewed, ‘Where did your father grow up?’ She said, ‘He hasn’t. He still cruises around.’ … I loved doing [Minions: Rise of Gru]. It was a lot of fun, and some of the characters that are in it are cool. Except Stronghold probably steals it from Steve [Carell,] but that’s OK.

Whether it’s the potential for a spinoff focused solely on his current animated baddie, or returning as Uncle Machete for the upcoming Netflix reboot of Spy Kids, Danny Trejo is ready to dive into whatever comes his way. While Steve Carell has strong thoughts on a Minionized Office, pairing this gang of helpers with the more action packed side of Machete’s character could go so many ways. 

Grounding ourselves back to reality, if you haven’t seen Minions: The Rise of Gru yet, you can head to a theater near you and change that! Plus, if you’re a Peacock subscriber, don’t forget that the rest of the Despicable Me saga is currently available to stream on that platform of choice. Bananas not included.

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Quentin Tarantino Reveals His Pick For ‘The Greatest Movie Ever Made’

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Quentin Tarantino Reveals His Pick For ‘The Greatest Movie Ever Made’

It may not feel like it sometimes, but any upcoming movie has the chance to be named “the greatest movie ever made” by someone out there. However, that honor does have some specific caveats if you’re someone like filmmaker Quentin Tarantino. Not only has the Once Upon a Time in Hollywood director chosen a Steven Spielberg classic for that very distinction, Tarantino also explained just why that title is very specific. 

In an upcoming interview with our in-house podcast ReelBlend, Quentin Tarantino made his fourth appearance to talk about all things movies; the first since the big live show at the New Beverly Cinema. Promoting his new co-hosting gig on The Video Archives Podcast, Tarantino had yet another spirited discussion about cinema, which led to his pick of Steven Spielberg’s Jaws as  the greatest “movie” ever made. That distinction is important, as the Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood director made that perfectly clear through the following remarks: 

I think Jaws is the greatest movie ever made. Maybe not the greatest film. But it’s the greatest movie ever made. And then there are other movies that can get in its rarefied air. But as far as a movie, there’s no making it better than Jaws. There’s no ‘better’ than Jaws. It is the best movie ever made. And it shows how badly timed most movies made before Jaws were.

Leave it to Quentin Tarantino to separate his tastes in movies into those two separate, important camps: “movies” and “films.” In this case, the designation of a movie almost sounds like it’s shorthand for the blockbuster opuses that Steven Spielberg made a name for himself with. Which means that “films” are presumably more of the independent/art house titles that have higher pedigrees, and usually end up on the lists of best picture nominees every year.

Strangely enough, Jaws is one of six horror movies to have Best Picture nominations, so the line could blur just a bit in that respect. Putting aside the “movies” versus “films” debate, Quentin Tarantino isn’t using that separation to be a snob. Later on in the conversation, he explained how spectacles such as this are their own form of art, and how Steven Spielberg came to be someone who perfected it: 

What I meant by that, to one degree or another, is that Spielberg and a lot of his cohorts grew up seeing those kinds of movies in the theater. Henry Levin’s Journey to Center of the Earth, he’s gonna run to go and see that. Richard Fleischer’s Fantastic Voyage. He’s going to run and go see it. Gordon Douglas’s Them! He’s going to run and go see. Now… most of them weren’t directed that well. They were assignments given to journeyman directors who did their best with them. That was how we were used to seeing comic book — that kind of movie experience. As opposed to a Spielberg, who was like, ‘No, this is exactly the kind of movie he likes. This is exactly the kind of movies he was put on earth to make. And he’s going to make it, within an inch of his life, as effective as it possibly can be. And, you know, Michael Anderson, isn’t putting that kind of work in Logan’s Run.

Spielberg, and “cohorts” like George Lucas, Martin Scorsese, and Francis Ford Copolla all latched onto genres that were pulpier entertainments in their childhood, only to make them into something new. Through films like Jaws, Star Wars, Taxi Driver, and The Godfather, we saw a generation of directors taking movies they loved and reviving them through their own personal lenses. Which is exactly what Quentin Tarantino would do when he stepped onto the scene with Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction; and it’s also why he’s such a staunch supporter of the cinematic experience. 

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If this conversation boils down to anything, it’s game recognizing game. Much as Steven Spielberg idolized the movies that helped make Jaws, Quentin Tarantino has reverence for the bearded director and his dedication to making the movies that sparked his love of cinema. Though considering the history his collaborator Samuel L. Jackson has had with sharks, you have to wonder if this has already sparked any sort of humorous conversations between the two?

You’ll be able to watch, and listen, to Quentin Tarantino’s latest appearance on ReelBlend, as it’s set to hit YouTube tomorrow. Meanwhile, Tarantino may not have his tenth and final film in the works just yet, but you can still enjoy the man’s gift for words in two very cool ways. 

Tarantino’s Video Archives podcast, which he co-hosts with friend and collaborator Roger Avery, is currently streaming wherever you find fine listening material. However, if you also want to read the man’s thoughts on ‘70s filmmaking in his upcoming book Cinema Speculation, which you can currently preorder on Amazon (opens in new tab); or any other fine bookseller.

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‘Prey’ Interviews With Amber Midthunder, Dan Trachtenberg And More!

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The stars of “Prey,” Amber Midthunder (“Naru”), Dakota Bevers (“Taabe”), Dane DiLiegro (“The Predator”), director Dan Trachtenberg and producer Jhane Myers discuss their new “Predator” movie in this interview with CinemaBlend at San Diego Comic-Con 2022. They discuss the “Prey” audition moment that landed Amber Midthunder her role and more!

You can stream “Prey” on Hulu on August 5.

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Interviews

‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ | Marvel Comic-Con Interviews with Chris Pratt, Karen Gillan & More

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‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ | Marvel Comic-Con Interviews with Chris Pratt, Karen Gillan & More

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” stars Chris Pratt (Peter Quill / Star-Lord), Karen Gillan (Nebula), Will Poulter (Adam Warlock), Pom Klementieff (Mantis), Sean Gunn (Kraglin / On-Set Rocket), Chukwudi Iwuji (The High Evolutionary) and writer Director James Gunn discuss their upcoming Marvel film and conclusion of the “Guardians of the Galaxy” trilogy in this post-Hall H interview with CinemaBlend at San Diego Comic-Con 2022.

Video Chapters

  • 00:00 – Chris Pratt on Finding “Your Side”
  • 00:35 – Chris Pratt Teases What’s Ahead For Star-Lord and Gamora In GOTG 3
  • 01:24 – Karen Gillan LOVES ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Fan Reactions
  • 02:00 – Karen Gillan Weighs In On Nebula Unaliving Nebula in ‘Endgame’
  • 02:32 – James Gunn Teases a “Darker” ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Movie
  • 03:20 – Sean Gunn on Baby Rocket’s Difficult Backstory
  • 04:30 –  Pom Klementieff on Welcoming New Marvel Actors to the ‘Guardians’ Family
  • 05:15 – Pom Klementieff Teases A More Badass Mantis In ‘Guardians 3’
  • 05:35 – Will Poulter Teases Adam Warlock Origins in ‘GOTG 3’ 
  • 06:32 – Chukwudi Iwuji on The High Evolutionary and His Motivations
  • 07:20 – Chukwudi Iwugi Praises James Gunn’s Dialogue
  • 08:15 – Chris Pratt Recalls His Last Day of Filming the ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Trilogy
  • 08:55 – James Gunn Is Literally Always Writing and Rewriting Scripts
  • 09:49 – Will Poulter Wants to Play Adam Warlock Again “If Marvel Will Have Me”

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