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Chillin' Like A Villain

Tips for being a badass, by ''24'''s Joaquim de Almeida. The resident villain on the hit show explains how confidence has everything to do with it

24, Joaquim de Almeida | IT'S GOOD TO BE A GANGSTA ''24'''s de Almeida
Image credit: Joaquim de Almeida: Robert Voets
IT'S GOOD TO BE A GANGSTA ''24'''s de Almeida

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.

Originally posted Feb 06, 2004 Published in issue #749-750 Feb 06, 2004 Order article reprints