As the Zoom call opens, a perfectly coiffed yet sleepy-eyed Benito A. Martínez Ocasio lets out a loud yawn. Yes, that’s global superstar Bad Bunny’s full government name, which he officially goes by for the acting side of his career. Today, his fragmented public personas are battling out internally as he goes through press junkets to promote his upcoming movie, Bullet Train. Just two days prior, Bad Bunny wrapped up his three Un Verano Sin Ti shows in San Juan, Puerto Rico. But more than concerts, these were full-on celebrations of being Boricua, soundtracked by the album that plays all throughout the island, all day. So how is he today? “Con resaca,” Benito candidly tells Remezcla.
But even hungover, his face immediately lights up at the mention of his shows. “I’m still recovering from the hangover and all the energy we let out there, but [I feel] very happy, which is what’s important,” he says with the biggest smile on his face. “For me, it was something magical, epic. I know those who were there got a good memory [they’ll keep] forever because it was a unique experience.”
Trying his best not to yawn going from rockstar to movie star, we move on to the order of business of the day: action movies. On Bullet Train, Benito plays The Wolf, a Mexican assassin with a vendetta against Ladybug (played by Brad Pitt). Armed with a big blade, The Wolf is one of several lethal adversaries riding the world’s fastest train attempting to retrieve a briefcase that Ladybug is carrying. As director David Leitch explains in a press statement, the film is “a fun action-thriller with crazy, bombastic characters.” So in the spirit of action movies, we talked to Benito about different iconic action characters and whether The Wolf would be able to beat them in a fight.
First up is John McClain from Die Hard. “¡Diablo!” he immediately exclaims. “I don’t know if I can go up against that one. He has all the tricks and a lot of experience too. I’m going to say The Wolf, but I think the experience will win at the end of the day.” Set up against The Bride from Kill Bill, he’s a lot more confident. “The Wolf has the courage to go against them,” he says. When it comes to fighting Alice from Resident Evil, though, Benito says it depends on how The Wolf wakes up feeling that day. He thinks he’d tie with El Mariachi from Desperado and doesn’t have an answer for Sarah Connor from Terminator. But when it comes to The Transporter, Benito lets out a big laugh and says, “I’ll go with The Wolf. [The Transporter]’s going to get over-confident, confident in his instincts, and we’ll kick his ass.”
Besides his role in Bullet Train, Benito is also slated to play the Marvel superhero El Muerto in an upcoming film. So, naturally, we set up one last hypothetical fight: The Wolf vs. El Muerto. “El Muerto has superpowers, it’s not fair,” he exclaims. Having brought up an excellent point, we concede it wouldn’t be a fair fight. “I think The Wolf would be El Muerto’s ally,” he adds.
One of the first looks we got of The Wolf was his fight scene with Ladybug in one of the trailers, which actually used his song “El Apagón.” But if he had gotten to A&R his fight scene with Pitt, Benito opted for some older Bad Bunny trap tracks. “‘Chambea’ would’ve been a good song for that scene,” he says. “Or it could also be…,” he says as he looks up to the ceiling, going through his discography in his head. “‘Tú No Metes Cabra’ could be, too.”
Though Bullet Train comes out in theaters on Aug. 5, we still don’t know much about The Wolf. As this is his first film role, we ask Benito what his inspirations were to build his lovesick, revenge-seeking character. “I had just come from Mexico from filming Narcos, and I spent a lot of time there. So I felt I had to focus on [The Wolf] and give it a little bit of my personality, of myself,” he explains.
With a humble, almost bashful shrug, he adds that his main inspiration was music because that’s what he loves the most. “What I did was focus more on listening to music, [on] a lot of stories in corridos, and I would let my imagination run,” Benito says. He has a whole playlist he created for the role, adequately titled El Lobo. At this, he pulls up his phone and scrolls until he finds the tracks he wants to share. “This song, I would say, got me into [The Wolf]’s vibe, de malón,” he says. “‘Beliko’ by Ruben Figueroa. And ‘En La Movida’ by Herencia de Patrones. I have many! But I’ll give you those two.”
As it turned out, separating Bad Bunny, the music star, from Benito A. Martínez Ocasio, the rising actor, was unnecessary. As he pointed out, music is what he loves the most, so of course, it would play a huge role in his new acting endeavor. Even behind dark tinted glasses and a three-show residual looming over his body, his eyes brighten up and his body perks up when talking about songs.
With all the skepticism of music artists stepping into the film industry, it seems that he is more than ready to take on both worlds and create a bridge between them. Because if his singing career has taught us anything, it’s that you don’t sleep on Benito. Even if he’s trying his best to stay awake at the moment.