Danny Trejo's tell the tale of how he went from hardened criminal to movie star

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‘Inmate #1: The Rise of Danny Trejo’: A Must See Documentary

The extraordinary life journey of Hollywood‘s most unlikely hero, Danny Trejo

Danny Trejo is one of those Hollywood actors with a solid career and many years of experience in the industry with more the 300 movies in his portfolio. If you don’t know his name, you know his face, or viceversa. But this documentary is not only about his accomplished acting career. The film explores Trejos’ life journey as Hollywood’s most unlikely hero. What can we expect from his story? A great career, but an even greater life. It is compelling, positive, and overall, a heartfelt story about second opportunities. ‘Inmate #1’ is directed, shot, and co-edited by Canadian film and cinematographer Brett Harvey.

Trejo is of Mexican descent. Born in Los Angeles, he was a child drug addict and criminal. For about eleven years he was in and out of jail. While serving time in San Quentin (one of the most dangerous prisons in the country), Trejo fought for survival as well redemption. He became a boxer during those dark days, and during his stay in prison, he successfully completed a 12-step rehabilitation program that changed his life.

Inmate #1 Official Poster©Universal Pictures
Inmate #1 Official Poster

Many of the stories he shares in the documentary are compelling. Back in the day, when he was just a boy, his two role models in his life were John Wayne and his uncle Gilbert. The first was, and still is, his fictional hero. The same one that showed him that as a Mexican he could aspire to a different future by including the actor Pedro González González in his films.

Trejo’s first role was a moment where one could say the universe aligned for him. The actor was speaking at a Cocaine Anonymous meeting in 1985. There, he met a young guy, who shortly after called him for support. He went to meet him at what turned out to be the set of ‘Runaway Train’ (1985), his first movie. The rest is history!

His films include ‘Heat’ (1995), ‘Con Air’ (1997), and ‘Desperado’ (1995) with frequent collaborator Robert Rodriguez.  ‘Machete’ is one of Trejo’s most famous characters. Originally developed by Rodriguez for the ‘Spy Kids’ movies; it was later expanded into Trejo’s own series of films aimed at a more adult audience.