Benicio Del Toro: "I Need to Understand the Character, I Don't Need to Agree with Him" - Actor Oscar Roundtable

"One of the first things I heard when I came here was, 'change your name.' "

"Whether you play a character that you agree with or not, do you understand the character?" says Benicio del Toro at The Hollywood Reporter's Actor Oscar Roundatble. "So I understand that character. Do I agree with him? At the end of the day, no. And that's part of acting. I need to understand the character, I don't need to agree with him. And if you are on a good team with a good director and actors that you respect, then I will highly consider that film."

"I understand the frustration of what happened to his family, I understand that anger," del Toro says of his Sicario character.

When asked about his experience with racism and prejudice in Hollywood, the actor says, "All you got to do is read the history, history will inform everything. I mean if you read the history of The United States, you know that there's a prejudice, but it's evolving, it's changing. We could talk about it for a long time, but I've definitely felt it."

When del Toro first came to the United States to work as an actor, he was repeatedly told to change his name in order to distance himself from his ethnicity. "Maybe that was one of the biggest mistakes I've ever done," he jokes, "not changing my name."

The full Actor Roundtable will air on Close Up With The Hollywood Reporter on Sunday, Jan 17, at 11 a.m. ET on Sundance TV.

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