Benicio Del Toro
, just named best supporting actor by the New York Film Critics Circle for Traffic
(opening in L.A. and N.Y. on Dec. 17, elsewhere on Jan. 5), is prepared to give his all for a role. Unless, of course, it involves the sort of weight gain required for his part in the 1998 pic Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
"I wouldn't do the weight [gain] again for anything," says Del Toro, who packed on 45 pounds for his role opposite Johnny Depp in the hallucinatory Fear and Loathing. "It took about three months to take it off. It's not healthy."
Del Toro said the extra pounds, combined with the disappointing box office for Fear and Loathing, managed to set him into a deep funk. "What I did there was just really hard work and it just got thrown in the garbage can, in a way," he said. "It got really bad reviews unfairly so, I think. That was a little bit of a depressing time, right there."
Those days are far behind him now, with the critically acclaimed Traffic set for release and several more films already on the way, including Basic, The Pledge, and Snatch, the latest movie by Madonna's beau Guy Ritchie. But the low-key Del Toro is doing his best not to let the good times go to his head and not buy into the Oscar buzz surrounding his role as a Mexican cop in Traffic.
"If it happens, it happens," he says of his chances of being nominated for the gold statue. "Something like that is a compliment, and I won't take it for granted. But I won't think about it. It's like wishing for rain. It's beyond my control. The work is done."