|Exclusive Benicio Del Toro Webchat Transcript|
On getting slapped and his evil 'tache
Benicio Del Toro has acted in the likes of The Usual Suspects, Snatch, Che, Sin City, The Way Of The Gun, 21 Grams and many more - but it wasn't until Savages that he got to work with Oliver Stone. Here in his very own Empire webchat, he tells us about working with the award-winning director as well as how many times people say "Hand me the fucking keys, you cocksucker" when he's walking down the street...
papwortl says: Your performance in 21 Grams was incredible especially in the scene where you reveal to Melissa Leo what your character has just done. How did you prepare to play that character and are you proud of that film?
Thank you, I am very proud of the film. How did I prepare? The preparation came from reading the script. My character was a man suffering from a depression, and the depression was what they call survival guilt, and there is such a thing. So I did some reading about what it is and what happens when you're suffering from survival guilt.
fearandlunchtime says: Who is the greatest director you have worked with and who would you like to work with in the future?
Well, it's hard to single out the greatest director, but I've had the luxury to work with great directors, and I have to say I've been influenced by a lot of them. Steven Soderbergh is one that I admire very much, and Oliver Stone of course, since we're talking about Savages.
Peterson says: When Oliver Stone offers you a role, what's your immediate reaction?
I'll take it!
Bonkles says: INCREDIBLE 'tache in Savages. Your own handiwork, I hope?
Yes, thank you! What's your number?
Echo89 says: You had a pretty bad-ass death in Licence to Kill; but what's your favourite Bond death-scene?
Well, it's gotta be Robert Shaw in From Russia With Love.
Jimmy The Saint says: I was wondering if it was liberating having Che split into two movies and can it be tough to fit a person’s entire life story into one film? Should you go the mini series route?
Well, I think first of all it was meant to be one movie, two parts, but the life of Che Guevara is very difficult to do it whole and do it justice in just four hours. The Che movie was based on two books that he wrote, one called Reminiscences Of A Revolution and the other one was called the Bolivian Diaries, and that was our approach to that movie. We actually counted the most important episodes of his life, and it would have taken 11 hours if we had covered everything, so it would have been longer than a mini-series.
IFlipYou says: What would you say is Oliver Stone's greatest strength as a filmmaker?
I think he has plenty of courage. I think he makes other cinema people feel like they could dare. His work, it's inspiring to other filmmakers to dare, and that's an amazing quality. His body of work, he's always been on that edge, at the edge of that cliff, almost every film he's done.
Happy Henry says: What's it like getting slapped by Salma Hayek? In any way fun?
Well, the first two you can take. When you start going into the 12th take or the 15th take, you start looking around for a referee or for someone to throw in the towel.
Dario says: Hi Benicio! What's the role you've most enjoyed playing in your career, and why?
There's been many for different reasons and it's very hard to pick one. You go from The Usual Suspects to Basquiat to Savages. They're all different. Perhaps the most ambitious and most complicated was Che, and for that reason I educated myself through learning about Che, about Latin America and my roots. So it's hard to pick one. But Savages was a lot of fun; collaborating with Oliver, working with the actors, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Blake Lively, John Travolta – who I have to admit I was starstruck by when I first met him – being slapped by Salma Hayek. It was a lot of fun.
Liam Quane says: Hi Mr. Del Toro, obviously a huge fan, can I ask what was it like to direct your first short film and how is 7 Days In Havana going?
It was a lot of fun and it was good to tell people what to do instead of having people telling you what to do. I don't know, with the movie... I don't know when it's coming out in the UK. I think it's come out in France; I don't have any dates for Spain. It was a lot of directors doing great short stories and it was challenging, the whole process, and I'm looking forward to perhaps trying it again.
Bonkles says: Your line in The Usual Suspects, “Hand me the fucking keys, you cocksucker” is often quoted round my way as just an incredibly brilliant turn of phrase. Your words? And do people say it to you in the street?
They were not my words, they were scripted. I might have heard it once or twice, but I didn't hand over the keys!
FilmFan1985 says: Hi Benicio! I loved the Cliff Martinez's soundtrack for Traffic. Do you have a favourite film soundtrack?
There is a Miles Davis soundtrack for a Louis Malle movie called Elevator To The Gallows.
Quentin_Cappuccino says: Hi Benicio. Random question, I know, but which of your fellow Usual Suspects would you most like to go on holiday with?
All of them, I guess; the usual ones.
park ji sung says: Did you get to meet Hunter S. Thompson at all during the making of Fear And Loathing? Would you like to play Dr. Gonzo again alongside Johnny Depp in another HST adaptation?
I did get to meet and become friends with Hunter S. Thompson. I don't know if I would be inclined to gain an average of 4lbs a day eating doughnuts again, but never say never.
Leach says: How was it working under the direction of Quentin Tarantino for car chase scene in Sin City? Something you would like to do again?
It was great, great to have Robert Rodriguez and Quentin working on that scene. I'd love to work with both of them again.
Liam Quane says: Was it daunting stepping into the paws of the infamous Wolfman?
It was sweaty.
Seaweed says: If you could only listen to one album for the rest of your life, what would it be?
That's such a mean question! Ah, fuck it: Emotional Rescue by the Rolling Stones. Or Elvis Presley, The Sun Sessions.
catherine says: Who haven't you worked with that you would really like to?
There are many directors – Scorsese, Paul Thomas Anderson, the Dardennes brothers... There are many great filmmakers out there that I would love to work with – the Coen brothers, Drake Doremus...
IFlipYou says: What's the best movie you've seen so far this year, and why?
Oliver Stone's Savages, out now!
talbot says: Hi Benicio – what happened with Star Trek 2? You were strongly rumoured as being the new villain and suddenly it’s Benedict Cumberbatch. What was the part?
You can't always get what you want…
Jimmy The Saint says: There was a rumour you were once linked to play Iron Man. Would you ever like to play a superhero?
Yeah, why not? But I didn't know that I was linked to Iron Man.
Great hair sir says: I need to know; the world needs to know... what is your favourite sandwich?
Big_Pants says: You're awesome in Savages, how come you haven't done more comedic roles?
Because actors don't get to pick movies; movies pick the actors. But thank you!
benny says: Hi, how do you feel now about the Wolfman remake? I heard a load of negative things about it so stayed away from the cinema release yet was very impressed when I finally saw it on DVD. You were superb in the role, as was Anthony Hopkins as the emotionally deceased father. Pint of bitter please…
Well, thank you. Perhaps I wish that it would have been a little bit more geared towards a younger crowd.
bennytoint says: Way of The Gun is one of my all time favourite films and the quiet hero (or antihero) is something that seems in short supply since the old westerns. Does a role that relies more on actions than dialogue a bigger challenge as an actor?
It depends, because sometimes an action role can be very demanding, and sometimes a dialogue-driven character can be very demanding, and vice versa. It depends.
Uncle Tobias says: Do you keep your Oscar on a special shelf in your living room? Or is it in the bathroom or in the attic or somewhere?
I take him out for walks!
erynsies says: Favourite up and coming actor that we should keep an eye out for?
Aaron Taylor-Johnson was very good, the young Taylor Kitsch and Blake Lively; it's going to be interesting to see what they do.
yulle says: And do you have any favourite classic actor?
Yeah, there's Bogart, Anthony Quinn, Brando, Richard Widmark, Robert Mitchum, John Garfield, so many. James Cagney! Lon Chaney Sr. – I could keep going there.
archer1204 says: What upcoming projects are you most excited about and why?
I'm excited about a picture I haven't finished yet called AKA Jimmy Picard.
Jack Cotterill says: What would you be doing if you weren’t acting as a career?
I'd be an astronaut! Or a gardener, somewhere in-between.