benicio del toro arrives

It’s the Year of the Bull for the Sicario Actor

BY: Claire Connors

He may have started his acting career in music videos (Madonna’s “La Isla Bonita“) and television series (Miami Vice), but the remarkable Benicio del Toro made his mark in one of the hottest film franchises, well, ever, playing the bad guy in the 1989 James Bond film, License to Kill. Even more notable, he was the youngest Bond villain ever, taking on the role of Dario when he was just 21.

Yet, Benicio’s career has been a slow burn. It took him more than ten years of starring in excellent films like Bryan Singer’s The Usual Suspects (1995) and Guy Richie’s debut, Snatch (2000), before winning his Academy Award in 2001 for his supporting role in Steven Soderberg’s brilliant crime drama, Traffic.

The early 2000s found the Puerto Rican actor, whose name means “the bull” in Spanish, stretching his muscles in films like Inherent Vice, Sin City, and 21 Grams. More recently, he’s made lots of cameo appearances as The Collector in the Avengers franchise, and starred, of course, 2015’s brutal drug cartel drama, Sicario, with Emily Blunt and Josh Brolin. The movie was so popular, a sequel has been made: Sicario: Day of the Soldado, again co-starring fellow Avengers regular, Josh Brolin.

This year, Benicio is returning to television in the prison thriller, Escape at Dannemora, based on the amazing true story about a married employee (Patricia Arquette) who fell in love and had sexual encounters with two (!) prisoners, then helped them flee. Benicio and the always-brilliant Paul Dano (There Will Be Blood) play the fugitives who brought an entire area in up-state New York to a standstill in 2015 while they eluded the police.

Directed by Ben Stiller, the eight-part series, Escape at Dannemore, will air on Showtime soon. Sicario: Day of Soldado opens June 29th.