Happy 48th Birthday, Benicio del Toro!
The celebrated Puerto Rican actor has appeared in countless amazing roles: from Che Guevara to Dr. Gonzo to Franky Four Fingers. His outstanding ability to inhabit different personas and bring difficult characters to life has earned him critical acclaim and an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
In honor of the boricua's birthday, we're remembering his seven most incredible roles:
Dr. Gonzo in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas:
Adapted from the Hunter S. Thompson novel of the same name, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas follows the insane adventures of Raoul Duke, played by Johnny Depp, and his trusty sidekick, Dr. Gonzo, played by del Toro. The two embark on a wacky search for "The American Dream" -- aided, of course, by massive amounts of drugs.
Javier Rodriguez in Traffic
In the movie that earned him an Academy Award, del Toro plays Javier Rodriguez, a police officer in Mexico who attempts to cripple the efforts of the powerful Obregón drug cartel. His subtle performance, was lauded by Entertainment Weekly as "haunting in [its] undersatement, [it] becomes the film's quietly awakening moral center".
Fred Fenster in The Usual Suspects
When five "Usual Suspects" are dragged into a New York police station lineup, they form an unlikely bond and agree to do a job together. The hilarious and thrilling movie boasts one of the best ensemble casts of all time, including Kevin Spacey (who won an Oscar for his performance), Stephen Baldwin, and of course, Benicio del Toro as Fred Fenster, a mobster with..um..English difficulties. The iconic "lineup" scene almost didn't make it into the final cut of the movie -- and the line "In English Please" was completely improvised! Watch for yourself, but fair warning, there is extremely graphic language.
Che Guevara in Che: A Revolutionary Life
Benicio del Toro took on the challenging role of Ernesto "Che" Guevara in Steven Sodenbergh's biopic about the legendary Marxist revolutionary. Although reviews to the film were mixed, del Toro's performance was generally praised, even earning him the Best Actor Award at the Cannes Film Festival.
Jack Jordan in 21 Grams
Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu's acclaimed film 21 Grams features del Toro as Jack Jordan, a former convict who has turned to religion to help recover from drug addiction and alcoholism. His story begins unexplicably intertwined with that of Sean Penn and Naomi Watts' characters in a dramatic, heartbreaking, and ultimately, tragic film. His outstanding performance earned him a nomination for an Academy Award, BAFTA Award, SAG Award, and more.
Franky Four Fingers in Snatch
The cult-classic Snatch stars del Toro as Franky Four Fingers, a professional criminal and gambling addict with...you guesed it, four fingers on one hand. A diamond heist ignites a chain reaction of events that involves gypsies, thugs, boxing promoters, Russian arms dealers and a stray dog. It's a movie you have to see to understand.
Jackie Boy in Sin City
Robert Rodriguez adapted four tales of crime from Frank Miller's popular comics, casting a range of talented and magnetic Latinos, like Benicio del Toro, Alexis Bledel, Jessica Alba, and Rosario Dawson. In the section of the film called "The Big Fat Kill", del Toro appears as Jackie Boy, a "hero cop" who gets more than he bargained for when he pulls over a young prostitute.