Benicio del Toro Interview – Sicario: Day of the Soldado

Benicio del Toro is a Puerto Rican actor who has won the Academy Award, BAFTA Award, Golden Globe Award, and Screen Actors Guild Award.  His films include The Usual Suspects, Traffic, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and Avengers: Infinity War. Benicio’s most recent film Sicario: Day of the Soldado has him reprising his role of ex-hitman Alejandro Gillick.

Screen Rant sat down with Benicio and talked about the changes in his character from the first film, his use of sign language in the movie, the film’s themes, and his reaction to Jeff Goldblum’s desire to work with him.

SR: From the first film, we know that your character’s very complex.  But we get to spend a little bit more time with him in this film. How does Isabella change him?

Benicio: Well, Sicario: Day of the Soldado, they’re there on a new covert operation, new mission. And part of the mission he has to kidnap an innocent girl, Isabella, who’s the daughter of a drug cartel leader, in order to get cartels to fight each other. So, in a way, my character starts to re-enact, and the girl was about the same age as his daughter. So, he puts his girl, Isabella through the terror, the same terror, the same experience that his daughter suffered before his daughter was killed. So somehow that starts working in his psyche. And later when he’s given the order to eliminate Isabella, somehow the relationship with Isabella and the whole journey has awakened a conscience.  There’s a turn there, where he disobeys the order and decides to protect the girl.

SR: You know, there’s a beautiful scene in this movie that I thought was a great tonal shift. Where Alejandro meets this deaf person in the desert. And I heard that that was actually your idea. Can you speak a little bit about, what maybe you brought to the character that wasn’t necessarily on the page?

Benicio: Well, you know, it was my idea, a collaboration with the director. But what I was looking for was something that would connect Alejandro with his dead daughter. And his daughter was hard of hearing. Deaf. And so, this is the first time he does sign language with anyone since his daughter was killed. And there is Isabella right there. So, I think it works in that way of the psyche of Alejandro being torn apart so that his heart can pump warm blood again.

SR: I love that scene.

Benicio: Oh, thank you. We got a lot of help from someone who knows. And the sign language is actually Mexican sign language. Because it’s different.

SR: The first film focuses a lot on the drug cartel. This one’s more about the immigration side of that.  What do you want people to take away from this film?

Benicio: Well, I don’t know if it’s really about immigration.  But it’s more about, I think it’s about the war on drugs. And basically, there is no solution.  And if anything, it’s like the idea of combating the violence of the war on drugs with violence, it just doesn’t go anywhere.

SR: Now, Jeff Goldblum spoke recently about wanting to share the screen with you in a Marvel film. Have you talked to Jeff?

Benicio: No, I haven’t talked to him, but it’d be an honor for me to work with him. I’ve been a fan. And you know, it’d be great. You know, it’d be great.

MORE: Watch the Sicario: Day of the Soldado Trailer

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