Benicio Del Toro has come a long way from playing Duke the Dog-Faced Boy in Big Top Pee-wee, quickly establishing himself as a character actor of great note. With Sicario: Day of the Soldado hitting home this week, here are five of his best movie outings.
The Usual Suspects (1995)
“Can you hear me in the back? Hello?!”
What did he say?! Del Toro’s flamboyant Fred Fenster is, well, rather incomprehensible here, which just adds to the character’s mystique. It also wasn’t originally planned, it’s just how it ended up coming out of Del Toro, so director Bryan Singer and writer Christopher McQuarrie just kind of went with it.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)
“As your attorney, I advise you to take a hit out of the little brown bottle in my shaving kit.”
Who else but Terry Gilliam could assail Hunter S. Thompson’s trippy and only vaguely fictional tale of two guys chasing the American dream in Vegas while higher than the sun? Del Toro put on 18kg in preparation for the role of Dr. Gonzo, lawyer and partner in hijinx to Johnny Depp’s journo Raoul Duke, which would have been fun – until it came time to lose it again.
Sin City (2005)
“You’re making a big mistake, man. A BIG mistake.”
Once a decent cop, Del Toro’s Jack Rafferty – AKA Jackie Boy or Iron Jack – ended up becoming jaded, corrupt and frighteningly violent. It’s far from a likeable role, but Del Toro lends it an astonishingly real power in this stunning crime thriller from Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez (with a little Tarantino thrown in for good measure).
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
“I don’t have to tell you what happened to the last attendant who disappointed me.”
Having popped up uncredited in Thor: The Dark World, Del Toro’s Elder of the Universe The Collector gets a slightly meatier appearance in the first Guardians flick. It’s also kind of important, as it involves one of those infinity stone thingies. The character went on to reappear in Avengers: Infinity War, and will hopefully pop up again in future Marvel outings.
“Nothing will make sense to your American ears, and you will doubt everything that we do. But in the end you will understand.”
Del Toro steals every scene that he appears in as the revenge-fuelled Alejandro Gillick, a hitman – or “sicario” – hired by the CIA to aid them in bringing down a Mexican drug cartel. It’s an absolutely mesmerising performance, and he does it again in sequel Sicario: Day of the Soldado.