Benicio Del Toro fulfilled a childhood dream by starring in a fresh take on the horror classic The Wolfman. Del Toro spreads terror and mayhem as the man who transforms into a monstrous werewolf, leaving a trail of bodies under the full moon.
He started early.
"I've always been a fan of horror movies, like the ones with Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi. We wanted to pay homage to them. As a kid, I wasn't watching Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. My earliest recollection of wanting to be an actor was watching Lon Chaney Jr. play the Wolfman. I really wanted to have those big teeth. I finally got the chance."
They don't make 'em like they used to.
"I think Frankenstein might be one of the classics of all time. I love Dracula, the Bela Lugosi movie. I think if the original Dracula came out now in color, it would take any of these movies, like Twilight, to pieces. There was no CGI, but you didn't need it. We kind of take that classic approach in our film, even though we did use computer effects when I transformed into the Wolfman."
Not to mention a lot of makeup.
"That was not easy. I needed a team following me to help me out. If I wanted to say something, they had to take out my teeth. Someone would have to help take off my clawed hands so I could scratch myself or eat. Whenever I started to chew on something, the long, furry hair got in the way."
The really hard part.
"That would be taking it off. Anthony Hopkins and everybody in the cast had left the set. They were sleeping already. But I was sitting in the makeup trailer while they scraped away my Wolfman face. That stuff just doesn't come off. I'd be like, 'Okay, let's finish tomorrow.' So, I would walk into my hotel at 5 o'clock in the morning and I'd look like I'd just been beaten to pieces. Thank God there were no paparazzi around. The hotel guys on the night shift were freaked out. They were like, 'Oh, my God!'"
Tapping into the creature's ferocious rage.
"Anger is not a hard emotion to get to as a male actor. Where does it come from? Life, I guess. I remember the anger I felt when my mother died of hepatitis when I was nine. It was a terrible time in my life and I still feel it. I guess it helped make me something of a rebel when I was in school. And I did get into some trouble. I didn't get good grades, and a lot of teachers turned their backs on me."
He's not suffering on the screen.
"Hopefully, you're really feeling it in a dramatic scene, but I'm just acting. I'm not really feeling it. I remember when my character was going through drug withdrawal, throwing up and everything in Things I Lost in the Fire. I looked horrible. But, I'd hear 'Cut' and I was ready to go out and eat a cheeseburger. You're not experiencing the reality, you're just portraying it. At least I am."
Making those hot actor lists.
"I don't know, what is sexy? It's part of the game and I'm not complaining. But I have never seen myself in a magazine and gone, 'Whoa, he's a hunk.' I'm just an actor and I make movies. I am not kidding."
The day his father validated his career.
"My mother always encouraged my artistic side. After she died, my father took over. I don't think he saw me as an actor. In fact, when I was studying with Stella Adler I dropped out of college and didn't tell him. He sent me cash for school and I spent it living in L.A. We stopped speaking for a while after that, but when I won my Academy Award, he told me how proud he was of me. That meant as much as winning it."
His advice to the Oscar nominees.
"First of all, be prepared, because it's heavy even though it feels good to hold it. If it happens, if you win, let it rip. Don't hold back. And if it doesn't, if you don't win, kick and scream. And then look at yourself in the mirror and pretend you're accepting it anyway."