He's been called a Latin Marlon Brando. Others compare him to James Dean
channeling Ricardo Montalban. With his striking good looks and what used
to be called bedroom eyes, when Benicio Del Toro's on screen, you can
be sure that your eyes will be focused on him. Actually, transfixed is
more like it. The hot new actor on every Hollywood director's most-wanted
list and the front-runner to win the Oscar as Best Supporting Actor, he's
already captured the Golden Globe and Screen Actor's Guild awards for
his portrayal of Mexican cop Javier Rodriguez in Steven Soderbergh's Traffic.
Incredibly, most of Del Toro's performance in the film is in Spanish,
a risky gambit but one that an actor of his ability and cinematic presence
was able to pull off beautifully.
Sensitive and Romantic Soul
on February 19, 1967 in San German, Puerto Rico, Benicio's Sun is in the
compassionate, mutable water sign of Pisces.* Noted for their sensitivity
and imagination, Pisceans are the idealists of the zodiac. They are true
visionaries, forever seeing the world as it could be, but not necessarily
as it is. Life for a Pisces is often bittersweet because they are capable
of dreaming the most beautiful dreams and experiencing profound disappointment
when reality doesn't measure up to their imaginings. The nitty-gritty
details of everyday existence are often put aside for more lofty pursuits.
Del Toro seems to fit this mold pretty well. Rather than pursuing the
family business of law (both his parents and several other assorted family
members were attorneys), he opted for an ever so practical and reliable
career as an actor.
add a favorable 120-degree trine from the Sun to a well-placed Mars in
Scorpio, one of the signs it rules, there is a sensual and erotic quality
to his aura that is, in a word, captivating. Mars is the planet of passion,
and in such a helpful relationship with the Sun it gives Del Toro a boost
of energy and charisma to add to the Pisces mystique.
Piscean influence doesn't end with the Sun. Del Toro also has Mercury,
Venus and Saturn in Pisces. Mercury, the planet of communication, in dreamy
Pisces gives him a rich imagination and an intuitive mind. These individuals
take in information differently. They absorb ideas and can deal quite
well with abstractions. However, clarity may not be a strong point, either
in thought or speech.
that Del Toro tends to mumble his lines and that he made his mark with
the role of the inarticulate con man Fred Fenster in The Usual Suspects.
The deep and transforming planet Pluto in detail-oriented Virgo opposes
Del Toro's Mercury, challenging him to dig down inside and literally become
his character. He calls it "excavation" and never regrets the
parts he doesn't get because each character is so much work. And, his
several portrayals of drug-dealing thugs are intriguingly symbolic of
his Pisces (drugs) Mercury (deals) opposing Pluto (powerful and violent).
who once wanted to be a musician or painter, has a rather artistic placement
of Venus, the planet of relationships, art and values, in Pisces. Those
with Venus in Pisces seek to merge with the universe in a cosmic orgy
that lifts them to the heights of ecstasy. Because they are willing to
give all to a relationship or a cause, Venus is said to be exalted, or
at its best, in Pisces.
the planet of rules and restrictions, conjunct Venus, however, Del Toro
probably experiences an emptiness that is hard to fill. Moreover, restless
Uranus opposes his Venus and Saturn, lending an air of detachment and
instability. In his case, it is also likely that the Moon, planet of feelings
in airy, dispassionate Gemini challenges the combination, making the emotional
void even more profound. His mother died when he was only nine years old
and the loss was understandably huge. His choice of an acting career also
alienated him from his family for a time. This planetary combination seeks
out solitude and needs to walk the road less traveled.
This preponderance of planets in Pisces gives Del Toro a curious sort
of anonymity. Like water, which takes the shape of its container, Pisceans
can adapt to be what they need to be at the moment-a truly remarkable
gift for an actor. When you see him in a film, he almost hides in his
characters. You don't see Del Toro-you see the cop, the gambler or the
the trek of transiting Pluto, which will make a harsh 90-degree square all of his Pisces planets before it leaves the sign of Sagittarius in
2008, is bound to transform Del Toro from a brilliant character actor
into a much sought after leading man. Pluto symbolizes power, among other
things, and when it contacts such "personal" planets as the
Sun (self), Mercury and Venus in a person's chart, that person can't help
but be noticed. Along with the loss of his anonymity, Del Toro will lose
his privacy. His first thought when he heard he had been nominated for
an Oscar was "oh no."
as High as a Kite
As if all
that weren't enough, Del Toro's Venus is in a grand trine with lucky Jupiter in Cancer and creative Neptune in Scorpio. A grand trine consists of three
planets that are each trine, or 120 degrees from each other. Together
they form a triangle. The opposition from Uranus to Venus turns the grand
trine into what astrologers call a "kite" formation** (if you
draw lines between the planets on a chart, the configuration looks a bit
like a kite).
and inventive Uranus as the focal point of the configuration, Del Toro
has the juice he needs for his electrical performances. This may account
for the high praise that Basquiat co-star Claire Forlani
gave Del Toro in a recent article in Talk magazine: "It's
about creativity for him. The most powerful thing I could impart to you
about working with him is that he frees you. When you're acting with Benicio
you feel like you're flying." And, now that Del Toro's kite and career
have finally taken off, it's likely that he'll be flying high for a long,
*If Del Toro
was born before 4:24 am, his Sun is in Aquarius, not Pisces.
is formed when a planet opposes one of the three planets in a grand trine
and, by definition, therefore sextiles (makes a 60-degree angle) the other
two planets. Enormous talent and success is possible with this formation,
which combines the ease of the trine with the opportunistic aspects of
the sextile and the awareness and challenge of the opposition.