John Leguizamo has been in every movie ever made. That’s what you learn when you IMDB him right before you’re about to interview him. Dude has 131 acting credits. You have to scroll down forever.
“I didn’t find you in Home Alone 3,” I said. That was the joke I had planned. It got a little laugh.
“I wasn’t in that one, but I have been in a lot of movies. Not all of them good, I’m not going to lie. They’re not all good. But hopefully some of them will stick.”
Yes, definitely some will stick. But some haven’t even stuck with him, as in stuck in his memory, which for super prolific actors is apparently a thing that happens. A few months earlier I interviewed his Bloodline (watch it, love it) co-star Beau Bridges and asked him about The Wizard. Total classic. And he barely remembers it. And dang, no wonder–Bridges has 60 more acting credits than Leguizamo.
I always imagine every movie I star in in my mind as being this life-changing, Sign My Yearbook experience that would bond you forever with people. That’s the way Aileen Quinn makes it sound on that My Hollywood Adventure special feature on the original Annie DVD. But that’s not the way it works, not when you’re on Leguizamo’s and Bridges’ level. At that level, it’s exactly the same as trying to remember, like, 200 different part-time jobs. (I’ve had maybe only 20 jobs and I always forget about that week at Jersey Mikes.)
So I asked John Leguizamo if he had a Wizard, a movie he could barely remember.
He laughs and ums for a second: “You mean that I blocked out?”
No, I meant is there a John Leguizamo movie that he literally has to be reminded that he was in, that he has virtually zero memory of?
“I think there was something called Frogs and Snakes,” he says. “That was weird”—and apparently so forgettable he forgot the name of the movie. I immediately hit IMDB again. It was Frogs For Snakes, some sort of indie thing about people literally killing each other for the role in an Off-Broadway play or something. Released in 1998, I told him.
“Oh, is that when that came out?”
“Yeah. Rated R. An hour and 48 minutes. Comedy Crime Thriller.”
“Man,” he laughs, “you’re like Rain Man.”
Lately Leguizamo has been a go-to bad guy, a trend that technically traces to his very first acting gig, a short stint on Miami Vice in 1986.
“I was 19 year old. I got cast as the villain of the season.”
His calls his character in Bloodline “repulsive” and “offensive.” In his latest film, The Hollow Point, he’s some psycho cartel hit man terrorizing a border town so effectively (and graphically) he agrees that describing it as “Western slasher flick” wouldn’t be inaccurate.
Does that kind of type-casting start to do something to do a man, psychologically speaking? In a why do people think I’m so evil kinda way?
“Yeah yeah, I obviously can deliver a certain amount of danger and I guess obviously it must live in me,” he says.
“I try to pick projects that challenge me and take me to different places and different parts of myself. And life stays exciting that way.”
Amen. And hey, turns out Frogs For Snakes also involved exciting parts of himself.
“I barely remember anything about that. Wait, now all of a sudden my mind is flooding with images. Oh yeah, now I remember. I was having sex with Barbara Hersey. She was so hot. Now I remember.”