The Big Interview With Benicio Del Toro PREMIERES Jan. 19 at 8/7c


Oscar®-winning actor Benicio Del Toro joins reporting icon Dan Rather in an all-new episode of THE BIG INTERVIEW, premiering Tuesday, January 19, at 8pE. During the intimate hour-long discussion, the critically acclaimed leading man—who made history in 2000, when he became just the third Puerto Rican actor to win an Academy Award—opens up about his early days in the industry, the challenges of setting himself free as an actor, his breakthrough performance in the hit crime caper THE USUAL SUSPECTS, and his experience on the set of Hunter S. Thompson cult classic FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS.

Although known for his roles in tense dramas such as TRAFFIC and THE USUAL SUSPECTS, Del Toro made his big screen debut as Duke the Dog-Faced Boy in the beloved comedy feature BIG TOP PEE-WEE, followed by the James Bond epic LICENSE TO KILL. Del Toro recalls the challenges he faced coming into his own as an actor, saying, “I was just interested in being almost like a guest at someone’s house. I don’t want to move the table; I’d behave really well when it comes to the approach to my character. It wasn’t until a little bit later that I realized that everything that I’ve learned and I’ve put all this time in class, I needed to let that out. I needed to grow. So, it wasn’t until a movie I did called FEARLESS… that I really went, ‘I’m gonna bring in everything that I’ve learned, and try to make it play’… By trying to do what I learned and what I considered the best I could do, that rubbed some people the wrong way.”

On his breakout role as the mumbling thief Fenster in Brian Singer’s beloved crime drama THE USUAL SUSPECTS, Del Toro says, “It was really a great cast, and it just came together. I always think that movies find themselves… but, what was funny about that film was, while we were shooting the film, everybody was kind of confused with the film. We didn’t think it was gonna be any good. I went out on a limb playing a character that was on the borderline of showboating, or being really, like, over-the-top. And the fact that the movie worked, that people consider it a breakthrough in my career—and I recognize that, as well—was because the movie was on point. It became what it had to become.”

Although Del Toro’s unforgettable turn was a great boon for his acting career, it also sent him into a bit of a tailspin—making him question himself and the choices he’d made in the film. Del Toro says, “I remember the day I finished shooting that film, I was so depressed. I felt I overacted. I felt it was the end of my career. I felt, ok, I dared, and I tried to do this character. But, there was this feeling of, like, what a big mistake. I should’ve played it in a different way, and all the other actors were so themselves, and here I am, ya know, [waves hands in the air]. So, it wasn’t like, ‘Oh, yeah, I did the great part and here we go! My career is just gonna take off!’ It’s not like that.”

While THE USUAL SUSPECTS is credited with setting Del Toro on the path to stardom, it was, perhaps, the cult classic Hunter S. Thomas adaptation FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS that had the greatest impact on him, as an actor. Del Toro reveals, “I got a chance to spend time with Hunter S. Thompson, and I admire his work, I admire that book. I read that book maybe four times, back and forth, just to understand it. I learned so much about literature, reading that book. Because it was the first time I started seeing writing just like acting. You’re building, and you have a point of view, and I felt I needed to give my all to this movie, and so did Johnny Depp. And we worked really hard… The movie comes out, the reviews are terrible, it doesn’t find an audience. But, the movie has found an audience by itself. It’s become a cult [classic], which is very gratifying.”

To see more of this in-depth episode, be sure to tune in to THE BIG INTERVIEW on Tuesday, January 19 at 8pE, only on AXS TV.

THE BIG INTERVIEW airs every Tuesday at 8pE, only on AXS TV. We’d love to hear your thoughts, too, so share on Facebook and Twitter using #axsTBI.

Dan Rather

Thoughtful & insightful: Read more at the Official The Big Interview Show page
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