Native American actor, choreographer and dancer Raoul Trujillo has been in the entertainment industry since the late 1980s. Making his acting debut in the independent film “Divided Loyalties” (1989), he is perhaps best known for portraying the role of Zero Wolf in the Mel Gibson film “Apocalypto” (2006). He is also known for portraying Peter Drak in the direct-to-video “Scanners II: The New Order” (1991), Red Cloud in the TNT miniseries “Into the West” (2005), Tomocomo in the Colin Farrell starring vehicle “The New World” (2005, also a choreographer), Raw in the Sci Fi Channel miniseries “Tin Man” (2007) and Longshadow in four episodes of the HBO series “True Blood” (2008). He has completed filming “Love Ranch” (2009), a drama film from director Taylor Hackfor. Costars of the movie include Helen Mirren, Joe Pesci and Gina Gershon.
Childhood and Family:
Raoul Trujillo was born on May 8, 1955, in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Raoul is good friends with the Arizona-born actor Alex Meraz (born on January 10, 1985) and is the godfather of Meraz's daughter, Somak.
The New World
Raoul Trujillo made his first film appearance in “Divided Loyalties” (1989), a Canadian movie about Joseph Brant, a chief of the Mohawks, and the events that led to the birth of Canada as a nation. He also landed guest spots in the TV series “Katts and Dog,” “Counterstrike,” “The Hitchhiker” and “Street Legal” (all 1990) before making his sophomore big screen outing in “Montréal vu par...” (1991, segment “Vue d'ailleurs”). Also in 1991, he appeared in his first American film, “White Light,” an independent movie directed by Al Waxman and written by Ron Base. His first important role arrived later that same year when he was hired to portray Peter Drak in the Christian Duguay directed horror movie “Scanners II: The New Order,” but the film went straightly to video release.
Trujillo next played Kiotseaton in the Canadian/Australian produced adventure drama “Black Robe” (1991), which was directed by Bruce Beresford and written by Brian Moore, who based his script on his own novel of the same name (published in 1985). Starring Lothaire Bluteau as Father Laforgue, the film won six Genie Awards, including Best Motion Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay, a Golden Reel Award and ten Australian Film Institute (AFI) nominations. He also played Eugene in the Canadian drama “Clearcut” (1991), an adaptation of M.T. Kelly's novel, and Matthew in Atom Egoyan's “The Adjuster,” which premiered at the New York Film Festival in September 1991 before being released theatrically in the United States in July 1992.
The supporting role of Regis Santerre in the French language thriller “L'automne sauvage,” written and directed by Gabriel Pelletier, followed in 1992. Raoul then received the role of Emil Bear Heart in the ABC made-for-TV film “The Broken Cord” (1992), opposite Jimmy Smits, Kim Delaney and Michael Spears. The television movie, adapted from the 1989 memoir of the same name by Michael Dorris, received a WGA Award for Best Adapted Long Form and a Humanitas Prize nomination in the 90 Minute category. Still in 1992, he supported Lorenzo Lamas in the action film “The Swordsman,” for director/writer Michael Kennedy, and Lou Diamond Phillips, Jennifer Tilly and Donald Sutherland in the Canadian adventure “Shadow of the Wolf” (released in the U.S. in March 1993).
In 1993, Trujillo appeared with Graham Greene and Tom Jackson in the Gemini nominee for Best Writing in a Dramatic Program or Mini-Series, “Medicine River.” He was then cast as Lenore Zann's boyfriend in the sport themed TV film “Gross Misconduct” (1993), directed by Atom Egoyan and starring Daniel Kash as hockey player Brian Spencer, and portrayed Minter in “Paris, France” (1993), a Canadian erotic film that starred Leslie Hope, was directed by Jerry Ciccoritti and written by Tom Walmsley. Trujillo then made an appearance in the Canadian soap opera “Destiny Ridge” (1993), where he portrayed Sam Whitehorse.
The following years saw Trujillo in such films as Canada's “Trial at Fortitude Bay” (1994, TV, opposite Lolita Davidovich and Henry Czerny), the third installment in the Highlander film series, “Highlander III: The Sorcerer” (1994), which starred Christopher Lambert, “Black Fox” and “Black Fox: The Price of Peace” (both 1995, TV), opposite Christopher Reeve, and “The Invanders” (1995, TV), which starred Scott Bakula. Following guest appearances in the TV shows “JAG,” “Lonesome Dove: The Outlaw Years,” “Renegade” and “The Sentinel” (all 1996), he acted in “Song of Hiawatha” (1997), a drama based on a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the direct-to-video “Blood Trail” (1997), the television films “Sisters and Other Strangers” (CBS, 1997) and “House of Frankenstein” (NBC, 1997) and the children's film “Waking Up Horton” (1998), in which he starred as Horton. He also played Tecumseh in the TV miniseries “War of 1812” (1999) and made guest appearances in such popular TV series as “Silk Stalkings” (1997) and “La Femme Nikita” (1999).
Entering the new millennium, Trujillo guest starred in a string of TV series, including “Avengers” (2000, as the voice of Prince Namor), “The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne” (2000), “MythQuest” (2001) and “Adventure Inc.” (2003). He also played Bill Lebret in the TV film “Betrayed” (2003, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation), Alejo, alongside William Hurt as Alan Osborne, in “The Blue Butterfly” (2004), and Ricardo in the Sci Fi Channel film “Frankenfish” (2004), opposite Tory Kittles, K.D. Aubert, China Chow, Matthew Rauch, Donna Biscoe and Tomas Arana. In the TNT miniseries “Into the West” (2005), produced by Steven Spielberg, he was cast as Red Cloud.
Trujillo next teamed up with Colin Farrell, Christopher Plummer and Christian Bale for Terrence Malick's “The New World” (2005), a drama about explorer John Smith and the conflict between Native Americans and English settlers in the 17th century. In the movie, he portrayed Tomocomo. The New Mexico native became even more popular the following year thanks to his portrayal of Zero Wolf, the villain, in “Apocalypto,” an epic movie produced, directed and written by Mel Gibson. Released on December 8, 2006, the film earned primarily positive reviews from critics and was nominated for three Academy Awards and a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film, among others.
Trujillo followed “Apocalypto” with roles in the short films “The Lives of Angels” (2007), which won the Genre Award for Best Short Film - Comedy at the 2008 New York International Independent Film & Video Festival, “Ancestor Eyes” (2008), Kalani Queypo's award winning short dealing with Native Americans, and Joseph von Stern's “Spinners” (2008). He returned to the small screen playing Raw in the Emmy Award winning miniseries “Tin Man” (2007), opposite Zooey Deschanel, Alan Cumming, Neal McDonough and Kathleen Robertson, and received the recurring role of Longshadow in the HBO drama series “True Blood” (2008), which was created by Alan Ball and starred Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer and Sam Trammell. In 2009, he appeared in episodes of “The Unit” and “In Plain Sight,” where he played Father Sebastian and Felix Calderon, respectively.
Raoul will costar with Joe Pesci, Helen Mirren, Gina Gershon and Scout Taylor-Compton in the drama “Love Ranch” (2009), directed by Taylor Hackford and written by Mark Jacobson.
Apart from acting, Trujillo is also a dancer and choreographer. He served as a choreographer for the film “The New World” (2005), in which he also acted in. During the early 1980s, he performed as a principal dancer, soloist and master teacher with the Nikolais Dance Theatre and has toured around the world. He was also the choreographer and co-director of the American Indian Dance Theatre from 1987 to 1989.