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How Danny Trejo went from convicted con to Hollywood actor

Sarah James

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How Danny Trejo went from convicted con to Hollywood actor

Danny Trejo was born in Los Angeles, California in 1944. Both of his parents were Mexican American, and his father was a construction worker. During the 1960s, Trejo was always in and out of prison. His final prison sentence was approximately 5 years, and he even spent time in a juvenile detention centre. All in all, he was incarcerated at around six different Californian prisons until around 1972.

In San Quentin state prison, Trejo picked up boxing and was highly successful across lightweight and welterweight divisions. He also worked with a 12-step program to overcome his drug addiction. In 2011, he revealed that he had been sober from drugs for over 40 years.

Breaking into movies

While working as a youth drug counsellor, a patient of Trejo’s invited him onto the set of Runaway Train. Trejo was subsequently offered a role as an extra – ironically, in a prison scene. The screenwriter of the film, Edward Bunker, recognised Trejo since both had been incarcerated at San Quentin. Bunker was aware of Trejo’s boxing skills and subsequently asked Trejo to help train Eric Roberts for a boxing scene in the film.

After his work on the film “Runaway Train”, Trejo was offered supporting character roles in a range of other movies. His distinctive, thug-like appearance made him a desirable asset on films featuring criminals and nefarious characters. He has also collaborated with acclaimed American director, Robert Rodriguez, responsible for films like “Spy Kids”, the “Sin City” series and the “Machete” movies, in which Trejo plays the lead role. Ironically, Trejo and Rodriguez are second cousins; however, this was something that neither men knew about until later in their professional relationship.

Trejo currently resides in the San Fernando Valley and has two children with his former spouse, whom he divorced in 2009.

I’m the Entertainment chief and an assistant managing editor of Metic Press. During my three decades with Metic Press, I've reported extensively on celebrities and business, tech leaers. These days, I also edit small business and fintech coverage in Metic Press.

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Top 3 ugliest celebrity divorces and splits

Sarah James

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3 ugliest celebrity divorces and splits

Celebrity divorces are usually huge entertainment news and gossip. This is because they are often so public and can get quite ugly and aggressive. Who wouldn’t get a little feisty when there were multi-million-dollar estates at play? Nonetheless, here are some of the nastiest celebrity divorces the entertainment scene has witnessed.

Tiger Woods and Ellen Nordegren

In one of the sporting world’s most controversial scandals, Tiger Woods was exposed as a serial cheater and womaniser, having engaged in infidelity with multiple partners. His then-wife, Ellen Nordegren, didn’t take the news particularly well. In a physical altercation with the famous golfer, Nordegren threw her mobile phone at Woods, chipping his tooth, before going after his prized Escalade with his golf clubs. Bit of irony there.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie

The “Brangelina” split is probably the celebrity divorce of the decade. They became Hollywood’s cutest couple, then emerged a power couple. In September 2016, Jolie filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences. In 2019, their divorce was finalised, and both were confirmed single again. They have six children from the marriage, three of whom were adopted.

Amber Heard and Johnny Depp

Amber Heard and Johnny Depp were in a relationship between 2015 and 2017. In 2016, Heard filed for divorce and took out a restraining order against Depp, claiming that Depp verbally and physically assaulted her. In 2017, their divorce was finalised, and Depp was ordered to pay Heard a settlement of $7 million, which she donated to charity.

In 2019, however, their split reared itself again, with Depp suing Heard for defamation, specifically an op-ed piece for The Washington Post. In the article, Heard claimed that Depp consistently perpetrated domestic violence against her. In early 2020, Depp submitted documents alleging that heard had physically assaulted him, backed up by audio recordings that apparent support his argument.

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4 child actors that successfully transitioned to adult acting

Sarah James

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Neil Patrick Harris

Making the switch from juvenile roles to more mature, adult roles can be a massive challenge from any young actor, no matter how successful they are. The rise and fall of Macaulay Culkin is testament to this, and more often than not, the switch from child to adult acting is not achieved. Here are several famous actors who were able to buck the trend and continue their success.

Neil Patrick Harris

Before he was Barney Stinson in “How I Met Your Mother”, Neil Patrick Harris was Doogie Howser, a child doctor. He played the role from 1989-1993 and continued gaining steady work as an adolescent and then adult actor. He hosted the Primetime Emmys in 2009 and 2013.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Joseph Gordon Levitt started child acting back in the 1980s. He appeared on television shows like “Murder, She Wrote” and “Family Ties”, before getting more sizeable roles in “3rd Rock from the Sun”. For younger audiences, Levitt is now a highly accomplished adult actor, whose filmography includes “The Dark Knight Rises”, “500 Days of Summer” and “Knives Out”, which was released in late 2019.

Elijah Wood

Most movie-goers recognise Elijah Wood for his role as Frodo Baggins in Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of Rings” film trilogy. However, he received his big break in the early 1990s, when he starred in “The Adventures of Huck Finn”. In the late 80s, he even had a cameo role in “Back to the Future: Part II”. These days, you’ll see him in shows like “Wilfred” and “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency”.

Christian Bale

Christian Bale became a household name with his role as Bruce Wayne in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Trilogy, and he even won an Oscar for his role in the 2011 film, “The Fighter”. Before hitting big success, Bale had juvenile roles in “Newsies” and “Empire of the Sun”, the latter of which was released in 1987.

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The worst book to film adaptations we want to forget

Sarah James

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Matthew McConaughey

Just because a book series or novel is fantastic doesn’t mean a film adaptation is the way to go. Sure, The Hunger Games movie series and the Harry Potter saga buck this trend. However, it’s an unfortunate fact that most book adaptations pale in comparison to the success of the original material. Let’s check out a few.

Eragon (2006)

Christopher Paolini wrote “Eragon” when he was barely a teenager. The book was a huge international success, spawning three sequels that finished the “Inheritance Cycle”. However, the 2006 film based on the first book is simply awful. While a sequel film was planned, the studio cancelled pre-production plans after seeing how bad the first film did.

The Dark Tower (2017)

Based on Stephen King’s novel, “The Dark Tower” had all the right pieces to make a great film. It had great actors – Matthew McConaughey and Idris Elba in the leading roles, and a sizeable budget of over $60 million. However, the film bombed with critics and didn’t make a whole lot of money either, with both audiences and critics labelling the movie as rushed and unfaithful to the source material.

Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief (2010)

The Percy Jackson series was written by Rick Riordan between 2005 and 2009. The books were wildly popular with young adults; however, the films were the exact opposite. The first film was released in 2010 to average reviews; however, it grossed over $226 million at the box office. This encouraged Fox Studios to produce a second film in 2013. However, reviews for the film continued to deteriorate, and its box office returns were less than favourable. Consequently, all future films were cancelled.

Inferno (2016)

Dan Brown’s most recent Robert Langdon novel, “Origin”, was released in the latter half of 2017. However, in 2016, Brown’s fourth novel in the series, “Inferno” was adapted for a film. Like the rest of the film series, “Inferno” was very bad, but they keep making money. Expect more mediocre adaptations in the future.

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