Benicio Del Toro’s appearance at the San Sebastian Film Festival was a refreshing change for his fans as he looked relaxed and much leaner than his last on-screen role as the heavyweight, disheveled drug lord, Pablo Escobar.
He was there to collect the Donostia Award for Lifetime Achievement and seemed to be enjoying the celebration in an upbeat mood.
Del Toro said of the Donostia Award, “Well, it’s an honor,” he added, “Because Its the first time I’ve been given a career award and also because it comes from the San Sebastian Festival which has for many years been the festival I have enjoyed the most.” Del Toro, the son of lawyer parents grew up in Pennsylvania making his way through N.Y.
drama schools before he landed bits parts on TV. The Puerto Rican actor and film producer was born in Santurce, Puerto Rico.
Del Toro said, “As a teenager, I never thought I’d get an award such as this,” he further added, “I dreamed of course, but dreaming is essential, in order to be an actor .To appear in front of a camera and tell a story is a pretty complicated process and it’s very difficult for any actor starting out .There’s a lot of rejection and you’ve got to have very thick skin, like a crocodile.” The ‘Traffic’ star was in San Sebastian attending the European premier of “Escobar: Paradise Lost.” Italian actor Andrea Di Stefano makes his the directorial debut with this movie that combines real story of Columbia’s notorious drug king with a fictional story of love between Josh Hutcherson, who plays a young Canadian surfer and Claudia Traisac (Escobar’s niece).
The story focuses on how the couple gets involved in the deadly empire of the invincible criminal before they seek escape from cartel’s reign of terror.
Following the positive notices from the Telluride and Toronto Film Festivals, the actor returns to form with “Escobar: Paradise Lost”, taking the supporting role as Pablo Escobar.
Escobar died in a shoot-out in 1991 but his name still brings out trembling or adoration for a man who ran a multi-million dollar frug cartel.
He not only brought intimidation but also cash to striving Colombian communities.
Following numerous books and documentaries about Escobar’s life, there has been a bundle of projects revolving around Escobar.
John Leguizamo starrer “The Ballad of Pablo Escobar” where he plays the lead role and the 2012 Columbian mini-series are some of them.
What is the reason for the obsession with the man behind so much bloodshed? Del Toro said, “I did feel the pain that went through Colombia at that time,” he continued, “And anyone who reads about Escobar sometimes find it difficult to understand.
There were good and very bad sides to his life and it’s true a lot of people got hurt by this man” Talking about his role, Del Toro said, “I’ve played many real-life and fictional characters and it’s no more easy or difficult to do either.
Basically you research and study the character, almost like a journalist, then a bell rings and you start the film.
That’s when it all comes together, in shooting the scenes.”