Real-life brothers Daniel (left) and Luis (right) discuss their similarities with Breaking Bad‘s Cousins, describe what it’s like to get a tattoo on the eyelid and explain how far they’d really go to protect one another.
Q: How did you two end up in Breaking Bad?
LM: I went on the audition by myself the first day, and I was thinking, “I hope there’s someone that looks like me and does very good so we can book it together.” It never crossed my mind about Danny because he never worked. When they learned I had a brother and said, “Bring him in tomorrow,” I called him and told him, “Get home right now.”
DM: As soon as he told me, I was sold. I’ve been trying to get into acting, so I was trying my hardest.
LM: I thought, “Oh this is it.” You study and study and study and boom. Next day he went in with me. Two days later they called us and said, “You guys got it.” I’m like, “Woohoo!”
Q: Are you as tough as you look?
LM: Really, we are. We’ve been around the block. I was in jail a long time ago, so I went through that. I was in a gang. Everything bad you can think of that happened to someone, happened to me and my brother. That’s why we are the way we are now. But I used it in a positive way. I’ve done a lot of motivational speaking for schools, prison camps and programs for youth. I know what is going to happen out there on the street, and I’ll tell you. The past helped me and we are who we are now. Different people.
Q: But you still have the tattoos.
LM: I have a few tattoos. My neck, my hands, my eyelids — they cover it for the show but yeah.
Q: You have tattoos on your eyelids?
LM: I have “F U” spelled out. Bryan Cranston asked me, “Did it hurt?” I said, “No, it didn’t hurt. The part that hurt was when they put a spoon underneath the eyelid. That hurt.” Your eyelid is so thin the needle will go through and puncture your eye. You gotta put a spoon. That was back in the day, when I was young and wild. We did it the rough way. I’m sure now they probably have something better.
DM: He couldn’t work a lot of places because of his tattoos. So I started getting tattoos where I could hide them. Put a shirt on and look normal.
Q: Were people on the set afraid of you?
LM: By the end of that day, I think everybody is my friend. But at the beginning they were like, “Who the hell is that?” Once you go through the process — first you go to make-up and the make-up team is like, “Oh Luis, he’s super nice.” Then you go to wardrobe, same thing. Then all the P.A.s throughout the day. At the end of the day, it’s big hugs all over the place. But the first reaction, when you step in there without saying anything, people quickly look and then they look the other way.
Q: How did you feel about having to kill Danny Trejo (aka Tortuga), given that he also plays such a tough guy?
LM: It wasn’t that hard. We’re cartel guys. Everybody knows you snitch on someone from the cartel, something bad is going to happen.
DM: We tried to make an example out of him, you know?
LM: I’ll tell you — we had a little accident. His double did the part where you go faster with the machete and the machete kind of broke. The blade went flying and hit my brother on the arm.
Q: Danny, were you OK?
LM: He was OK. It ain’t no big thing. He’s a tough guy. I’m telling you. He’ll take it. It’s OK.
LM: Yeah. It’s alright. He’ll take it. I told them, “Give me a real machete. It’s alright. No problem.”
Q: In what way is your relationship with each other like that of the brothers on the show?
LM: They asked us after the premiere if we were happy or congratulating each other. I was like, “No.” Daniel was next to me at the premiere and I just looked and I said, “That was cool.” I mean we do get excited but we don’t really show it too much. We’re not very affectionate towards each other. But we know. We just look and we already know. It’s a very serious look. And he already knows and I know what he doesn’t say.
Q: Danny, since this is your first acting job, what did you find to be the most challenging?
DM: The first day, because it was the first time ever. I was really nervous. I’m not going to say no. The second day — that was the explosion. After the explosion, I was more comfortable. [Laughs]
Q: Luis, was it weird, having been silent for so long, to start talking in Episode 6?
LM: It did feel kind of weird. I was thinking my voice is not going to match the kind of badass that I am — I hope my voice matches this badass killer.
Q: Your characters learn at a young age that family is everything. How far would you go to protect each other?
LM: Wow. Family is everything. As far as protecting family, how can I put it in nice words? Probably we would take it too far. How about that? [Laughs] I mean, don’t think bad.
DM: I agree.
Q: So you would avenge each other’s deaths?
LM: [Laughs] Oh my God. You gotta put it like that?
DM: I plead the Fifth.
LM: Lord. Well. I’ll plead the Fifth too. If something bad happened I would probably want to do something to someone, and he would probably want to do the same. I mean, if the person is already in custody, no need. But I would really, really pursue justice. You know what I’m saying? If my brother gets killed I want someone to go to jail for that. Sometimes you can say no, but sometimes… I’m just saying.