As a Special Forces assassin who's lost his marbles, Oscar winner Benicio Del Toro spends most of his screen time in The Hunted (opening tomorrow) crawling, climbing, running and grinning devilishly. Although the Traffic star says he relished the non-verbal role, all that action came at a price during the final days of shooting — when he broke his wrist rehearsing a climactic brawl with co-star Tommy Lee Jones.
"It was in one of those scenes when we were practicing diving for a knife, and I fell on Tommy and he fell on me," Del Toro tells TV Guide Online of the accident, which sidelined him for five months. Despite the mishap, the 36-year-old actor — who reportedly still undergoes three hours of daily therapy in an effort to regain full use of his wrist — admits he's a big fan of cinematic swordplay.
"The knife-fighting stuff was kind of cool because there's a logic behind it," he says. "It's a [special] technique that comes from the Philippines called sayoc-kali. In order to get better at it, you have to practice quite a bit; it's a lot of repetition.
"I don't think I could be a soldier, though," he adds. "I don't know if I take orders too good. I'm a little lazy myself."
That may explain the rather low profile Del Toro has been keeping since walking off with the golden guy at the 2001 Academy Awards. (Since Traffic was released in 2000, his only projects have been 2001's The Pledge and Hunted.) "I'd rather not be working," he declares. "When you work there's all kinds of deadlines and pressures."