Joaquim de Almeida: Robert Voets
Dan Snierson
February 06, 2004 AT 05:00 AM EST

Tremble in your boots, pray for mercy, and meet the most dangerous man in Hollywood: Joaquim de Almeida, 46, who plays ”24” drug lord Ramon Salazar. We asked the ubiquitous underworld villain (”Clear and Present Danger,” ”Desperado,” ”Kingpin”) to get down with his bad self.

What makes you the consummate drug lord?
I rarely am cast as a bad guy in Europe. In the States, it’s always the elegantly dressed bad guy. When you have a foreign raspy low voice, that helps.

Give us three tips for playing a badass.
Always look the good guy in the eye. Be extremely confident because you have to show that you have more power than whomever you’re talking to. And third, bring a little wry humor. The bad guys always find some fun in things that aren’t that funny.

When you walk into a restaurant, do people bolt for the exit?
A lot of times you feel somebody staring at you. But it’s the kind of stare that you say, ”He’s not recognizing me…” And finally they say, ”I apologize for staring. I couldn’t figure out who you were — but I knew you were dangerous.”

What’s your favorite way to die?
Believe me, you get tired of dying. I’m getting bored with machine guns. Once they had me die of a heart attack, and that was something new. I enjoyed that very much.

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