To play a heroin addict, Benicio did his homework. "I sat with people who know about addicts and addiction. I sat down with a doctor," he says. "And I read. I read literature about it, and I learned about it. And through it I try to bring, inasmuch as I learn, into the character."
Even though he's known for how he plays intense characters in movies, Benicio says he isn't the kind of actor who stays in character when the camera stops. "You always have to come back. I think there's a saying by the Coast Guard that says, 'You have to go out, but you don't have to come back.' And I used to say that a lot. You have to come back. Otherwise you're not going to be able to work the next day.
"When you make movies, it's teamwork. You can't really be in your own world all the time or you'll drive people crazy. You have to be open to the actors you're working with, to the director, to the makeup people, everybody. You can't be like a rock of emotions, just waiting to do it in front of the camera. You have to be able to communicate and be there for the people, working with other people."