The Big Picture
- Grant Singer assembled an impressive cast for his feature film debut, Reptile, including Alicia Silverstone, Justin Timberlake, and Benicio Del Toro.
- Del Toro’s involvement in Reptile not only showcased his acting skills but also influenced the overall quality of the film, according to Singer.
- In addition to his on-screen role, Del Toro collaborated with Singer and Benjamin Brewer to write the screenplay and served as a producer for Reptile.
For his first venture into feature filmmaking, Grant Singer managed to pull together a true all-star cast featuring a diverse range of actors. His neo-noir thriller Reptile features the likes of Alicia Silverstone, Justin Timberlake, Ato Essandoh, and Domenick Lombardozzi to name a few. At the top of the project, however, is Academy Award winner Benicio Del Toro who plays lead detective Tom Nichols whose life begins to unravel amid a brutal murder investigation. Singer was over the moon about having the Usual Suspects star on board and he revealed to Collider’s Steve Weintraub in an interview how Del Toro brought out the best in the film.
Del Toro has done it all in his film career since breaking out in the iconic 1995 crime drama opposite Kevin Spacey, Gabriel Byrne, and Chazz Palminteri to name a few. He scored a Supporting Actor Oscar for his turn in Steven Soderbergh‘s starry Traffic, carved out a spot for himself in the MCU as The Collector, and has numerous other prominent titles to his name including Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Sin City, Sicario, and Star Wars: The Last Jedi. He hasn’t appeared on-screen since 2021 where he got to team up with director Wes Anderson for his love letter to journalists The French Dispatch. Reptile actually offers an exciting reunion for Del Toro who’ll rekindle his Excess Baggage chemistry with Silverstone.
Singer sees Del Toro as one of the best actors he could have landed for Reptile. He credited the star with pushing not only inspiring his fellow actors, but Singer himself to push the killer thriller to an even greater level of quality. The experience Del Toro brought was especially valuable for the director in his first outing, as he explained:
“I would describe it as getting drafted to the NBA, and your teammate is Kobe Bryant, and it’s like your first year. You learn so much, and it’s the greatest experience ever because you’re with greatness. So, it was one of the most rewarding experiences, maybe the most rewarding experience, ever. You really have to– I don’t wanna say step up your game, but there’s a level of excellence that he is working with, and it brings out the best in everyone. It brings out the best in literally everyone, it doesn’t matter what you were doing in the movie. And certainly, I think personally, I put pressure on myself to be like, ‘Okay, I’m working with one of the greatest living actors. This is a moment that I will never get, forever. I’m going to make the most of this opportunity.’ Absolutely.”
Del Toro Collaborated With Singer to Pen Reptile
In Reptile, Del Toro’s Detective Nichols will be tasked with solving the murder of a young real estate agent in a case where nothing is as it seems. As he and Silverstone gets closer to the truth, looking into the victim and the people closest to her life like her boyfriend (Timberlake), the illusions in his own life fade away. Del Toro looks to bring depth to the hardened investigator as he’s impacted by the case, but his presence on Reptile didn’t end with his acting. He also helped Singer and Benjamin Brewer pen the screenplay and served as a producer, further serving as a guiding hand for the director whose experience lies in the realm of music videos.
Reptile arrives in theaters September 29 and on Netflix on October 6 following an appearance at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 7.