Luis Guzman has Arnold Schwarzenegger's back in The Last Stand, about a small town police force contending with big time criminals.
Not that the former Governator, who plays the sheriff, needed much help.
"There was a tent that no one could go into, and we heard him in there pumping iron and grunting," joked Guzman from the Mandarin Oriental Miami Hotel. "No, really; Arnold's a cool, laid-back guy, really intelligent. I dug him. We had a lot of talks about the environment."
Guzman, 56, has had a lot of experience playing bad guys ( Taking of Pelham One Two Three comes to mind), but this time out, the veteran character actor is on the right side of the law. That aspect attracted the Puerto Rican-born character actor to the script.
"I was pretty blown away by this David and Goliath type deal," Guzman says. "Taking on these brutal people and keeping to your word and protecting the public."
The shoot in New Mexico was colder than expected. "Two degrees in the winter in the desert. Give me a break! Two! It was super freaking cold. Can you imagine? "
Actually, he can imagine. Guzman may have appeared in dozens of high profile movies ( Boogie Nights, Out of Sight, The Limey, Traffic) but in real life, he's a country bumpkin, calling a small town in Vermont home.
"We wanted our kids to have a real childhood," says Guzman, who has been married to his wife Angelita since 1985. "It's laid back there and wonderful."
Guzman has worked with major talent ("I've been very fortunate"), but his dream costar is Javier Bardem.
"Hell yeah, hands down!" he says. "He's so intense. Watching him is very inspiring. He's just doing his thing, and you absolutely believe him. He's just the guy right now."