Benicio Del Toro: No Bull

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.

A Sensitive and Romantic Soul

Astrology Horoscope: Benicio Del ToroBorn 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.

When you 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.

But, the 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.

It’s interesting 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).

Del Toro, 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.

With Saturn, 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 gangster.

However, 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.”

Flying 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).

With brilliant 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, long time.


*If Del Toro was born before 4:24 am, his Sun is in Aquarius, not Pisces.

**A kite 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.

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