Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Feeling the heat

Actor Benicio del Toro threw a childish hissy fit and walked out of an interview with the Washington Times, after they dared to ask him some pointed (and uncomfortable, but necessary) questions about his apparent hero, Che Guevara, whom he's portraying in a new multi-hour propaganda film. It seems del Toro was expecting the blind idolatry he received from the Cuban press (Who woulda thunk that fact?):

"The film was screened in Cuba, to much applause.

'Del Toro is spectacular in the role of Che, not only in his physical resemblance but also in his brilliant interpretation,' wrote Granma, the official newspaper of the Cuban Communist Party. 'After more than five hours of screening, the Cuban public gave its endorsement with a strong ovation."

Like Uncle Fidel's official press organ would dare say anything different about a movie portraying his good buddy and "Hero of the Revolution".

The Times was asking del Toro to square his "interpretation" of Guevara with the memories of people like Armando Valladares, who was put into a concentration camp by Guevara and personally watched the Communist "leader" execute innocent people, when o'l Benicio got all agitated and left.

I wouldn't ordinarily fault an actor for simply professionally playing a role for which he was paid, except that del Toro, despite supposedly extensively researching Guevara's life, somehow has come to the conclusion that Guevara was some sort of icon to be admired. Del Toro must have missed the following passage from Guevara's writings:

"At the smallest of doubt we must execute."

I guess that wouldn't have made for a very flattering depiction of ol' Che.

"Mr. del Toro won top acting honors at Cannes this year. In his acceptance speech, he dedicated the award to Guevara." (Emphasis mine)

Toro means "bull" in Spanish. How appropriate.

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