Breaking Bad Actor Signed A Tortoise For $500

Danny Trejo said he was paid $500 by fans to sign a tortoise.

By Mark McKee | Published

breaking bad tortoise
DannTrejo in Breaking Bad

Few faces are as fun and immediately recognizable when watching a film as that of Danny Trejo; with over 400 credits to his name on his IMDb and 28 upcoming projects, he seems to be everywhere all the time. In a recent interview with GQ, the Machete actor talks about his role on the immensely popular television series Breaking Bad and quite a unique autograph opportunity he experienced because of it. Thanks to his Breaking Bad role as Tortuga, Danny Trejo got paid $500 to autograph a tortoise. 

Of course, to understand this turn of events, you need to go all the way back to Danny Trejo’s appearance in the show as Tortuga, which means tortoise. His character — a cartel big wig that secretly informs to the DEA — only appeared in two episodes, but the few minutes of screen time and the circumstances of his unusual death made Tortuga one of the most popular characters of the actor’s career.

According to Danny Trejo, signing the animal was likely due to his character’s death on Breaking Bad, where his head was severed and placed on top of a tortoise shell. When he autographed the animal, he replicated the message the shell carried in the series by scrawling, “Hola DEA.” The 3 fans needed to carry the large reptile offered him $500 to sign, so he made some quick cash. 

If you are wondering where you have seen Danny Trejo’s face, other than in Breaking Bad on the back of a tortoise, the answer is pretty much everywhere. He starred in Blood in, Blood Out with Benjamin Bratt, Delroy Lindo, and Billy Bob Thorton, among others. He even starred alongside George Clooney in the Batman actor’s leading movie role, From Dusk til Dawn

breaking bad tortoise
Danny Trejo in From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)

The mid-nineties also saw him go toe to toe with Antonio Banderas in his first English-speaking film as the knife-wielding assassin in the Robert Rodriguez film, Desperado. He was part of the crew pulling the cinematic heist in Michael Mann’s classic, Heat, starring Robert DeNiro, Al Pachino, and Val Kilmer. Around that time, Danny Trejo showed that starring in Breaking Bad as a character named after a tortoise wasn’t the only animal he could work with, as he starred alongside John Voight, Jennifer Lopez, and Ice Cube in the monster thriller, Anaconda

While more recently, Danny Trejo could be seen on series such as Book of Boba Fett and The Flash, he will almost always be known for his contributions to the film industry. In his interview with GQ, he legitimately seems to be having a blast with his characters and doesn’t seem to have any issue signing odd animals if the price is right. However much Danny Trejo may have enjoyed his time on Breaking Bad and signing a tortoise for $500, we wouldn’t recommend trying an anaconda.