Benicio Del Toro: “I Love Being a Sex Symbol”

Benicio Del Toro has been called the Puerto Rican Marlon Brando, mostly because of his bad boy sexiness, that air of mystery and, of course, his phenomenal acting skills. In Latina’s February issue (on newsstands now), cover guy Del Toro takes a break from making all those smoldering facial expressions we love so much
to open up about his youth as a trouble maker in PR, and the challenges he faced getting his new biopic, Che, on the big screen (it was like “pushing a piano up the Empire State building,” he said.). Read on to hear the actor’s thoughts on Latinos in Hollywood, and his own status as a sex symbol.

On people comparing him to Ernesto “Che” Guevara: “I am not Che. I’m not even a fraction of his pinky toe. He was a warrior.”

On opportunities for Latinos in Hollywood: “It’s not just about Latinos being represented. It’s about whether the movies are good. When I first started, Andy Garcia was breaking through and making us proud, along with Raul Julia and Edward James Olmos. I just follow those steps.”

On his troubled youth in Puerto Rico and later finding himself at a Pennsylvania boarding school: “[In Puerto Rico] you hung out at the beach, checked out girls, tried to get a car and be crazier than the guy next to you. In Pennsylvania, I became an individual.”

On people’s perception of Che: “I remember Che being included in a TV show that showed pictures of terrorists. I was like, ‘Why isn’t [President Richard] Nixon there for the Vietnam war?’ You’d have to put a lot of pictures of other people there before you’d put Che’s.”

On his own perception of Che: “We tell stories about Batman, and he was a type of Batman. No one can deny that he was trying to stop man exploiting man, whether he was successful or not.”

Quotes You Won't See in the Cover Story

On the most revealing things he learned about Che from those who knew him: “That they didn't make him into this God, he was just this guy. He was flesh and bones. He expected from you what he expected from himself. Two people who I met learned how to read and write because of him. It was really moving. I remember seeing the handwriting of this guy who learned to write and it was beautiful. I write like a monkey. The most revealing thing was that he was a human being.”

On his image as a sex symbol: “I love it. I have no control over it. Thank my mom and my dad and my tailor.”