Pop quiz: What do Esai Morales and Danny Trejo have in common? Yeah, it’s kind of a ridiculous question given that the answer is “not much.” Morales is a conservatory-trained, Brooklyn-born Boricua who earned his stripes in the New York theater scene before catching his break as Ritchie Valens’ brother in La Bamba and later as a series regular on NYPD Blue. Trejo, on the other hand, is a graduate of California’s San Quentin School of Hard Knocks, who made his way into film acting thanks to his reputation as fierce prison boxer. Morales is a child of the early 60s, Trejo’s pushing 70. Again, not much.
But we can’t deny that both are among the most prominent Latino faces in Hollywood, and Robert Rodriguez’s El Rey Network has just announced their addition to its flagship series From Dusk Till Dawn, adding even more firepower to a cast that already features the likes of Wilmer Valderrama and Jesse García (Sons of Anarchy) in its twisted universe of bank robbers and pre-Columbian vampires.
Of course, Trejo was part of the original cast of From Dusk Till Dawn, the movie, and was really the only prominent actor from the cult trilogy’s first installment to appear in its two direct-to-video follow-ups. But fans of the original films shouldn’t get their hopes up for the return of Trejo’s Razor Charlie, as this time around he will be playing a “horrifying agent of evil” named Warren G… wait no, I mean “The Regulator,” who is summoned to perform an unspecified but ominous-sounding “deadly errand.”
For his part, Morales will be playing “Lord Amancio Malvado”, who, as you can guess, is evil. Terrifyingly evil. But while his Spanish-derived moniker may be cheekily obvious, it’s about twelve-million times better than the butchered and gender-confused name of Malvado’s sometime lover, Santánico Pandemonium, played in the original film by Salma Hayek and in the series by Eiza González.
Season two of the critically acclaimed series is currently in production in El Rey’s home city of Austin, TX. Actually, scratch that. Until SXSW is over, they’re probably just twiddling their thumbs and checking their watches obsessively until they get their town back.