Entertainment

The Actors Of ‘Blood In Blood Out’ Lived With Real Gang Members For Months To Prep For The Film And Other Facts

Believe it or not, it’s been 26 years since Blood In Blood Out was released. Does that mean we’re over it? Nope. So we’ve put together a list of 25 facts about the movie for all of you stans out there.

1. Even though the prison gangs in the film are fictional, they were based on real gangs.

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The Aryan Vanguard represents the Aryan Brotherhood, while the Black Guerrilla Army is a stand-in for the Black Guerrilla Family, and La Onda is based on the Mexican Mafia. 

2. Technically speaking, it’s actually a Disney film.

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It was published under Hollywood Pictures – but Hollywood Pictures is a subsidiary of Disney!

3. Blood In Blood Out is also the name of a gang initiation ritual.

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“Blood in blood out” is another way of describing what’s essentially the membership process for a gang. The first step for an aspiring gang member to gain admission is that they have to kill someone before they are accepted. The second part to gang membership, once someone’s been accepted, is that the only way to leave for good is through dying. “Blood in blood out” is basically like the world’s most hardcore set of wedding vows.

4. Blood In Blood Out is also known as Bound By Honor.

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The film was renamed after the studio became skittish over the meaning of the original title.

5. Two soundtracks were produced for the film.

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One soundtrack was released by Hollywood Pictures for purchase and used in the film after its re-titling. But, the second soundtrack, which was originally commissioned for the film, was dropped after the film was renamed. Apparently, the dropped soundtrack, composed by Bill Conti, is rumored to still exist, somewhere … but it was never officially released.

6. The movie was filmed in 1991.

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And the filmmakers chose to film in the Spanish-speaking areas of Los Angeles, and inside California’s San Quentin State Prison. Clearly, they had a commitment to authenticity.

7. There was a lot of contention over whether the film would even be released.

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This was because the LA riots happened while the film was in post-production, and Disney was concerned that it was about to release a movie that encouraged gang warfare. The director, Taylor Hackford, got pretty upset over this because this was completely opposite to the actual ethos of the film.

8. The film made … a loss.

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The budget for the film was $35 million. But, once released, its gross revenue was only $4.5 million. Ouch.

9. It’s a pretty long movie.

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Its running time is 180 minutes. To put it in context, Avengers: Endgame runs for 182 minutes. The director’s cut goes for even longer, at an impressive 190 minutes.

10. One of the actors, Theodore Wilson, died shortly after finishing filming his scenes for Blood In Blood Out.

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Wilson died in July 1991, which meant that he didn’t get to see Blood In Blood Out in its final, post-production glory. He played Wallace in the movie.

11. Adan Hernandez, a Latino artist, was brought onboard to create the paintings the character of Cruz Candelaria was supposed to have painted.

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In fact, all of the paintings used in Blood In Blood Out were created by Hernandez. Unfortunately, the mural shown during the film’s climax, in the reservoir, has since been painted over. Hernandez himself actually made a cameo in the film, playing a drug dealer, Gilbert, in the art gallery scene.

12. Several of the then-inmates of San Quentin State Prison appear as extras in the film.

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The prison’s staff were also recruited as extras and advisors during production, too. Some staff members were even given small lines in the film.

13. One of the film’s actors had actually served time in San Quentin before his career as an actor.

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Danny Trejo, the actor who played Geronimo in Blood In Blood Out, spent time in the jail during the 1960s. On a related note, you might also know Trejo from his roles in the Spy Kids movies, and Breaking Bad.  

14. The screenwriter for Blood In Blood Out also makes a cameo as a prison inmate in the film.

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Jimmy Santiago Baca actually plays two roles in the film. Aside from appearing a prison inmate, he is also a member of the La Onda council. Clearly, he’s a jack-of-all-trades, since Jimmy Santiago Baca is also a poet.

15. Rotten Tomatoes’ critics gave the film a score of 55 percent.

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And the audience score says that 94 percent of people liked it. That is 94 percent of the 49,125 people who watched it. Sorry to those 11 reviewers who weren’t really fussed on the film, but in this case, the majority rules.

16. The director wanted to ensure that the film authentically reflected the “Raza” culture. 

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“When you are not of that, you trust the people around you,” Jimmy Hackford said in a recent interview.

17. You’ve definitely seen one of the stars, Benjamin Bratt, in other films.

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Bratt played Paco Aguilar in Blood In Blood Out. He’s scored both silver screen and movie roles since then, playing characters in Law and OrderTraffic,and even Sandra Bullock’s love interest in Miss Congeniality.

18. Blood In Blood Out was the first drama released by Hollywood Pictures that was about East Los Angeles Latinos.

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Let’s face it, even though it was released 26 years ago, it’s not like as if the market’s been saturated with Latino stories since. Maybe it’s time for a sequel or a remake?

19. The film had a very limited release.

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It was released only for a week in Rochester, New York, Tucson, and Las Vegas. This was mainly because the studio was nervous about stirring up controversy with the film’s subject matter and inciting violence at the theatres.

20. Blood In Blood Out also had a very short promotional campaign.

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They started on the 10th January 1993 – and the movie opened ten days later, on the 20th. When it did open, it only played at two to three theatres in each of the cities that it was released in. Again, Hollywood Pictures was clearly very nervous about the film’s release.

21. While the film isn’t a “true story”, it is based on real-life experiences.

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The screenwriter, Jimmy Santiago Baca, based it off of his own background.

22. A whole subplot involving Paco’s girlfriend/wife was cut from the final version of the film.

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This was probably just as well, considering that there was originally over 300 minutes worth of footage that was available for Blood In Blood Out before bits and pieces were culled for the final version of the film.

23. The main actors lived with real gang members to inform their acting for the film.

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Before filming started, Damian Chapa, Benjamin Bratt, and Jesse Borrego developed and perfected their characters over the three months that they stayed with gang members. 

24. Damien Chapa really connected with his character, Miklo.

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Chapa said this was because both he and Miklo were of Caucasian and Latino descent, and Miklo’s relationships and experiences seemed to parallel a lot of Chapa’s own relationships and experiences.

25. Paulo Tocha, the actor who plays Apache, was once in a gang himself.

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This turned around for him, however, when he decided to become a professional Muay Thai fighter.

So what surprised you about these facts? Tell us about it on our Facebook page – you can find it by clicking on the logo at the top of the page.

President Trump Is Pushing Idea That MS-13 Is A Big National Threat

Things That Matter

President Trump Is Pushing Idea That MS-13 Is A Big National Threat

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This week, the White House has been dealing with the ongoing Russian investigation, a revised health care bill, a new communications director, the resignation of press secretary Sean Spicer and the possible firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. However, in the midst of this government tumult, President Donald Trump cannot stop talking about the Salvadorian gang MS-13.

Trump, who tweeted this statement out earlier today, could be doing it to deflect attention from his embattled administration. It’s a tactic that he appears to employ often. For example, yesterday Trump tweeted that transgender people will no longer be able to serve in the military. He didn’t give any more information about it. The U.S. Joint Chiefs were not given notice about the ban. Trump just sent out a tweet and that was the end of it.

Trump’s statements on MS-13 are being interpreted by some as a tactic to control the narrative about his administration.

Although MS-13 is a violent gang with thousands of members, Trump’s statements appear to imply that they are a significant source of this country’s violence. Painting the gang as a “widely known scourge,” as journalist Adrian Carrasquillo described it, gives the Trump administration a clear “enemy” that they can battle against.

Earlier this week, Trump lumped undocumented immigrants and MS-13 gang members together at a rally in Ohio, saying “illegal gang members” were “animals.”

“And you’ve seen the stories about some of these animals. They don’t want to use guns, because it’s too fast and it’s not painful enough. So they’ll take a young, beautiful girl—16, 15 and others—and they slice them and dice them with a knife because they want them to go through excruciating pain before they die. And these are the animals that we’ve been protecting for so long. Well, they’re not being protected anymore, folks.”

We do know that the number of deportations has increased since Trump became president. But out of that increase, it has not been made clear how many of them are actual criminals, murderers, rapists, drug dealers or MS-13 gang members.

Attorney General Sessions, who may or may not be out of work soon, has been somewhat laying low — at least in regards to his job. But one thing we do know about Sessions is that he’s always been “tough” on crime, especially when the culprits are Latinos. According to NPR, Sessions once claimed MS-13 was smuggling gang members into the U.S. as “unaccompanied minors.” American University research fellow Hector Silva Avalos told NPR there was no proof to back up Sessions’ statement. Sessions is in El Salvador right now, most likely working on Trump’s promise to “make America safe again.” Because if they can’t accomplish this, the Trump administration may continue to get criticism for not passing any major legislation for the last six months.

The Hill is reporting that Sessions is meeting with El Salvador’s Attorney General Douglas Meléndez and other authorities to discuss ways to eliminate MS-13. It should be mention that Sessions will supposedly be in the same room with former MS-13 gang members.

The Trump Administration announced the recent arrest of nearly 600 gang members by El Salvador’s government.

The Trump administration’s rhetoric about a supposed rising threat from MS-13 in the U.S. isn’t backed by statistics. For starters, violence has decreased considerably since the ’90s, despite a recent overall increase.

CREDIT: Major Cities Chiefs Association

Darrel Stephens, executive director of Major Cities Chiefs Association, told Time Magazine that it’s too soon to tell if our current increase in violence will be a trend because it takes criminologists about three to five years of data to get an overall picture.

“We’ve had at least two years running now where there’s been an increase in 35 to 45 major cities,” Stephens tells Time. “It’s a major issue and should be in the cities where it’s taking place. But it’s not anywhere near the kind of violence that we had in the 1990s.”

The chart above shows that violence has increased in major parts of middle America, which aren’t usually areas with very large populations of Latino immigrants.

The American Immigration Council, a non-profit, non-partisan organization, also reports that “immigrants are less likely to be criminals than the native-born.”

“The evidence that immigrants tend not to be criminals is overwhelming,” reports The American Immigration Council. “To begin with, there is an inverse relationship between crime and immigration. Crime rates in the United States have trended downward for many years at the same time that the number of immigrants has grown. Second, immigrants are less likely to be incarcerated than the native-born. And, third, immigrants are less likely than the native-born to engage in the criminal behaviors that tend to land one in prison. No matter how you look at the issue, the inescapable conclusion is that immigrants are, on average, less prone to criminality than the U.S. native-born population.”

But it appears that’s not what Trump would have you believe.

READ: Could the U.S. be Blamed for Gang Violence in El Salvador?

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A Dozen Fast Facts about the Most Successful Gang Intervention Program in the World

Culture

A Dozen Fast Facts about the Most Successful Gang Intervention Program in the World

In the late ’80s, the seeds of what has grown into Homeboy Industries were planted when a program called “Jobs for the Future” was created. Its goal was to stem the tide of gang-related violence that was threatening to drown Los Angeles. Decades later, Homeboy Industries is widely recognized as one of the largest gang intervention and rehabilitation programs in the world. Here’s how the faith of one man helped change thousands of lives.

In 1988, a Jesuit pastor named Gregory Boyle started a program called “Jobs for a Future.”

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The program operated out of Dolores Mission Parish in Boyle Heights, a working-class, mostly Mexican-American neighborhood east of downtown Los Angeles. The program’s main goal was to provide high-risk youth with an alternative to gang life.

At the time, Los Angeles was embarking on the “decade of death.”

How do you pray! #prayerworks

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Father Boyle refers to the period of 1988-1998 as the “decade of death” in Los Angeles because of the intensity of gang violence that was engulfing the city. In 1992 alone, there were 1,000 gang-related homicides in Los Angeles county. Boyle Heights was hit particularly hard because, according to NPR, it had the “highest concentration of gang activity in the entire city.”

Early on, the belief was, “Nothing stops a bullet like a job.”

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Father Boyle and other concerned community members asked the question, “Can we improve the health and safety of our community through jobs and education rather than through suppression and incarceration?” They found that the answer was yes. Why? According to Boyle, a job “gives the gang member a reason to get up in the morning and a reason not to gangbang the night before.”

READ: Former Gang Members Talk About The Way To A Better Life

So, in 1992, a social enterprise called Homeboy Bakery was created.

Most are heading home for the day. But bakers are just getting started.

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After the L.A. riots, Homeboy Bakery was started in an effort to help former enemies work side by side while learning to bake, which would give them a marketable skill for life. The money for this “social enterprise” came from Hollywood producer Ray Spark, who donated the funds to turn an old, empty warehouse into a bakery.

“Wait, WTF is a social enterprise?”

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According to the Homeboy Industries FAQ section, “social enterprises are businesses that apply commercial strategies to improve the well-being of individuals rather than creating enterprises for profit.” To put that in other words: It’s about helping people grow, instead of making someone rich.

In 2001, “Jobs for the Future” expanded and became Homeboy Industries.

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Homeboy Industries now boasts multiple social enterprises, including their bakery, a cafe, silkscreening and embroidery services, catering, and retail selling of clothing, food and Homeboy Industries swag. They were able to grow by sheer hustle and ganas. The money to support all the enterprises comes from donations, fundraising, government funding and money made from the enterprises themselves.

But it turns out that to break the cycle of violence, you need more than a job.

#jobsnotjails #unitywins #hotla #homeboy #seniorstaffrising

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Father Boyle now admits that while giving a gang member a job helps with about 80 percent of the issue, the other 20 percent needs to be handled with therapy and support services. He says it’s a better way to help the population “transform pain” so as not to transmit it anymore.

Because it’s about more than just jobs, Homeboy Industries has become a one-stop-shop.

Krystal documented her tattoo removal today #jobsnotjails

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For those looking for a way out of gang life, Homeboy Industries’ services go far beyond employment opportunities, and also include case management, tattoo removal, mental health services, substance abuse counseling and education.

In a world where nothing is free, all the services at Homeboy Industries cost nothing. But they’re a huge investment.

#goodlife #hardwork #homegirl #kinship

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No one who joins the program is charged any money, and the men and women who receive job training are paid. The services are paid for with money from donations, government funding and the organization’s social enterprises.

How does it all work? Hope.

#besos #jobsnotjails

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Father Boyle — or G-Dog, as he’s affectionately called — believes that gang membership comes about because of “a lethal absence of hope in young people” and a lack of other options and opportunities. Now there is hope because Homeboy Industries offers a way out with opportunities for a different kind of life.

Perhaps you’ve seen one of their alums, Richard Cabral, on TV or in movies.

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Cabral was involved in gang activity from a young age and almost spent his life in jail after shooting a man, but he decided he was ready to change. Homeboy Industries helped him morph into an actor, and he eventually earned an Emmy nomination for his work on the ABC series “American Crime.” Can you believe that sh*t?

READ: This Ex-Gang Member Used To Run The Streets Of L.A., Now He’s An Emmy-Nominated Actor

And, yes, Homeboy Industries really is making a difference.

#homeboyindustries #graduates #standbyme #educationsnotjails

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Since 2005, there has been a 55.3 percent decline in gang-related crimes and a 66.7 percent decline in gang-related homicides. Of course, Homeboy Industries can’t take all the credit for that, but they have certainly contributed toward the reduction of gang-related violence in general.

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