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Don’t let Benicio del Toro’s gruff exterior scare you.
“He’s a teddy bear,” said Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, who plays a Mexican smuggler opposite Del Toro in Sicario: Day of the Soldado, the sequel to the 2015 hit Sicario. “He’s the sweetest, nicest guy … I loved talking to him because he’s a fan of movies and literature. He knew a lot about Mexican authors so I brought him some books.”
The Hollywood Reporter caught up with the cast and crew of Soldado at the movie’s premiere last night at the Regency Village Theater in Los Angeles.
The film sees the return of Del Toro as the mysterious vigilante Alejandro Gillick and Josh Brolin as federal agent Matt Graver. The two team up to help start a U.S.-sanctioned war between two Mexican drug cartels after the U.S. government learns they may be smuggling terrorists into the states through Mexico.
The first movie was directed by Denis Villeneuve, but the follow-up was helmed by Italian director Stefano Sollima.
“I was developing another project with [producer] Molly Smith and she started to talk to me about doing it, but it was difficult for me to see a sequel to Sicario,” Sollima said. “But then I read the script and I thought it was amazing.”
Like the first Sicario movie, Soldado was written by Taylor Sheridan. The story also involves the kidnapping of a drug kingpin’s teenage daughter (Transformers: The Last Knight’s Isabella Moner) with harrowing scenes depicting migrants crossing the border into Texas.
While the film seems to have been inspired by today’s real-life political tensions surrounding the U.S.-Mexico border, Smith explained, “It’s timely, but cartel violence has been timely for a while now. I think what Taylor does is roots it in reality, but it’s a fictional story that kind of shows the authenticity of the violence down there.”
Soldado is the second film in what is expected to be a Sicario trilogy. “Taylor always kicked around the idea that this was going to be a trilogy,” said co-producer Trent Luckinbill. “He has a lot of ideas of where he could take these characters.”
And one of those characters is FBI agent Kate Macer, played by Emily Blunt. While she appeared in the first pic, Blunt doesn’t pop up in Soldado. She’ll likely return if a third film gets the green light. “Taylor has a master plan.” Luckinbill said. “For this one, I think he really just wanted to explore Josh and Benicio’s characters.”
Co-producer Thad Luckinbill said with a laugh, “Who knows what Taylor has up there? He may have 30 Sicario movies he’s thinking about.”
Sicario: Day of the Soldado opens in theaters Friday.
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