Demián Bichir is the sort of actor who’s been doing great work for a while now, but who has still failed to achieve mainstream recognition. When he got a high profile role playing Fidel Castro in Steven Soderbergh’s Che, most of the buzz coming out of the picture was surrounding Benicio Del Toro’s work in the title role, or how Oscar Isaac was going to use it as a launching pad on to bigger things. He landed a role as a recurring character on the hit Showtime series Weeds, but all of the talk surrounding that show concerns Mary Louise-Parker’s increasingly frequent nude scenes, and not what a slimy and intimidating villain Bichir makes. He even got rave reviews and an Oscar Nomination for Best Actor for his starring role in A Better Life, but the film went criminally unseen by the public, getting its widest release on only 216 screens.

The Oscar nod did seem to give the guy a little bit of juice in Hollywood, however, as he was reportedly close to getting the villain role in Star Trek 2, but had to turn it down due to stage commitments. And now Variety has a report that the actor has not one, but two big projects lined up for the future. Apparently he’s not only negotiating to join Robert Rodriguez’s upcoming sequel Machete Kills, but he’s also set to star as an Israeli operative in The Exorcist director William Friedkin’s next thriller, Trapped.

Might either of these roles be the one that finally catapults Bichir into the A-list and gives him a notoriety as impressive as his talent? Machete Kills is sure to be heavily hyped here on the Internet, and Trapped could be the beginning of the sort of mainstream, English-language, starring roles Bichir will have to take in order to become a big Hollywood name, so either could serve as a career boost. It’s high time seeing Bichir’s name on a cast list becomes something that can make a movie money, and not just something that inspires squinty eyes, furrowed brows, and questions like, “What else has that guy been in? I think he’s supposed to be good.”

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