Danny Trejo Recalls How He Got His Hollywood Break

In a clip from the upcoming documentary 'Inmate #1,' the actor recalls a fateful phone call that led to him being discovered.

Danny Trejo is known for his prolific appearances in film and TV, but acting was something he fell into — not something he thought would be his life's work.

In an exclusive clip from the documentary Inmate #1: The Rise of Danny Trejo, the actor recalls being called down to the set of Runaway Train (1985) by a young man he was mentoring. There, he saw extras dressed in prison blues, acting tough. But to Trejo, who had spent time in prison two decades earlier, they didn't look authentic, and he made it known that he thought so. 

Soon, Trejo caught the attention of Runaway Train screenwriter Edward Bunker, who asked him to come aboard as a boxing advisor for star Eric Roberts. He was informed the pay was $320 a day, but that he might get punched during the training.

"I said for $320, give him a stick! Are you crazy? I've been beat up for free, holmes."

The doc chronicles Trejo's rise from ex-con to Hollywood star and features stories from his collaborators. It is directed by Brett Harvey, known for the hockey documentary Ice Guardians.

Inmate #1: The Rise of Danny Trejo will be available on digital and on-demand July 7 via Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.