Drunken Master: Danny Trejo plays a tipsy martial artist in South Texas-rooted superhero flick Green Ghost

Green Ghost and the Masters of the Stone opened at local theaters April 29.

click to enlarge Danny Trejo has a role in the new movie Green Ghost and the Masters of the Stone. - Courtesy of Gravitas Ventures
Courtesy of Gravitas Ventures
Danny Trejo has a role in the new movie Green Ghost and the Masters of the Stone.

The superhero genre might be dominated by Marvel and DC these days, but that doesn't mean someone outside of those two publishing behemoths can't try to reach the same audiences with an inspired adventure.

That's what actor and South Texas car dealership owner Charlie Clark hopes he'll achieve with Green Ghost and the Masters of the Stone, a superhero movie featuring a character he created to help promote his businesses in the Rio Grande Valley.

Clark, who's white, also developed the character to honor the Mexican culture he grew up around his entire life. He was raised in McAllen by his nanny, Mari Cruz Aurora Aguirre, whom he lovingly refers to as Nana. The name "Green Ghost" sounds similar to "gringo" — a label Clark doesn't embrace since his Nana taught him how to write and speak in Spanish while immersing him in Mexican traditions.

In Green Ghost and the Masters of the Stone, which opened at local theaters April 29, Clark plays Charlie, a car salesman who moonlights as a lucha libre wrestler. When he discovers that he has superpowers, he teams up with a group of martial arts warriors, including Master Gin (Danny Trejo), to stop an evil force from destroying the planet.

During an interview with the Current, Trejo, 77, talked about the movie's fight scenes, what he loves about Clark and what he's going to do when he retires.

Your character is described a someone who has "studied drunken boxing, but only learned the drunken part." I know you don't drink. Is acting drunk a challenge for an actor?

Oh, gosh, no. It was so much fun because you can't mess up a line!

You used to be a boxer yourself. What do you remember most about your time in the ring?

I fought for a long time. Boxers have a tough job. That's a tough way to earn a living, I don't care who you are. Out of the [countless] boxers out there, there's only like 12 champions. Boxing is a tough way to go.

What were the fight scenes like for you in this one?

Well, watching [actor and martial artist] Marko [Zaror] work was like watching birds fly. Same thing with [actor and martial artist] Andy [Cheng]. These guys were amazing. [Actress] Sofia [Pernas] was great too with the stuff that she did. I thank God that they didn't want me to do those spins. Charlie was watching out for me and so was [director Michael D.] Olmos.

I was surprised they didn't give you a machete.

Well, I asked for one! (Laughs.) I wish I would've taken some stock out on Machete because I would've made a lot of money.

What did you think when you heard about this car dealer in Texas making a movie where he plays a lucha libre wrestler?

Charlie doesn't know that he's not Mexican, so don't tell him. But he loves our culture. He loves the Mexican American community. He does a lot for immigration. I mean, he stole my heart. Ah, that sounds kind of girlish, doesn't it? You can't help but like the guy. He does a lot for the community, and that's the way I live my life too.

Identity is being talked about a lot in Hollywood right now...

You know, everybody keeps on talking about identity and culture, but we're all on the Titanic right now looking for a good seat. We all better get together and put it together. Coming out of this pandemic, it's almost like Diosito (God) gave us a good shake and said, "Alright, do what you gotta do."

You lend your voice to a character in the animated series Fast & Furious Spy Racers. If they called you up to be in the next live-action movie, what kind of car would you want to drive?

The only problem with me is that all their cars are fast and loud. I like low and slow.

I think Michelle Rodriguez would hook you up.

Oh, I love Michelle. That is one great lady. Low and slow. She knows. She's been in a lowrider.

You're turning 78 on May 16...

Yeah, don't tell anybody. (Laughs.) I'm not gonna stop working. My son started directing, and he's doing good. So, I told him, "Alright, chavalo (kid). You're my Social Security." I'm gonna do this till I'm 80, and then I'm moving into the back of his house.

What do you want for your birthday?

I'll sound like a beauty contest winner: peace on Earth. (Laughs). Really, I just want everyone to be happy. I couldn't ask for anything more. Diosito's been good to me.

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