Feature: Top 25 Celebrity Portraits of 2017, Captured by Joe Arce

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Star15. Danny Trejo

Danny Trejo
Photo credit: Joe Arce of Starstruck Foto for HollywoodChicago.com

Nobody ever accused Danny Trejo of just being another pretty face in Hollywood, and therein lies his superpower. With over 350 movie and TV roles under his belt, Hollywood’s most prolific onscreen badass in reality may be one of its nicest. Trejo’s story of redemption from violent criminal to action hero seems almost implausible even by movie script standards. It began as a journey from prison boxing champ to parole drug counselor, and it was the latter job that got him summoned to the “Runaway Train “ set, where Trejo was instantly recognized by screen writer of the film (Eddie Bunker) who had served time with him in prison. He was offered a job as Eric Robert’s boxing trainer, which morphed into Robert’s on-screen opponent… and an ink covered star was immediately born.

Aside from his many charitable contributions, Trejo recently became a restaurant mogul, launching his Los Angeles-based Trejo’s Tacos and Trejo’s Cantina to rave reviews, and the Mexican restaurants are already looking to expand nationwide. Trejo claims his tacos are the best anyone has ever tasted, and I personally believe that nobody is dumb enough to call “Machete” out as a liar, mono e mono.

LOCATION/DATE: Wizard World Comic Con, Chicagoland, August 26th, 2017

Star14. Bob Odenkirk

Bob Odenkirk
Photo credit: Joe Arce of Starstruck Foto for HollywoodChicago.com

Bob Odenkirk has said that growing up in suburban Naperville, Illinois – and his desire to get the hell out of that nowheresville at any cost – was the motivation that drove him into comedy. He began as a Southern Illinois University disk jockey, then made it to The Second City stage in Chicago, which led to a writing gig on “Saturday Night Live.” Odenkirk became a prolific comedy TV writer and performer long before his 2008 breakout role in “Breaking Bad,” or its spinoff “Better Call Saul.” He’s won two comedy writing Emmys, one as part of the SNL team and the other for “The Ben Stiller Show,” which helped assure that his post-Naperville future didn’t include living in a “van down by the river.” Yes, it was Odenkirk who created the Matt Foley character for Chris Farley when they were both at The Second City.

Currently, in addition to collecting Emmy nominations for his betrayal as ethically challenged lawyer Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman, Odenkirk has branched out to serious drama. He just opened in the Steven Spielberg-directed “The Post,” opposite Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, and the film is generating Oscar buzz. It looks like Naperville’s loss is entertainment’s gain.

LOCATION/DATE: The Second City, Chicago, September 9th, 2017

Star13. Chadwick Boseman

Chadwick Boseman
Photo credit: Joe Arce of Starstruck Foto for HollywoodChicago.com

In just four years since landing his first starring role, Chadwick Boseman has portrayed a number of larger-than-life cultural pioneers… from Jackie Robinson in the film “42,” to the Godfather of Soul James Brown in “Get On Up,” to Thurgood Marshall (the first African American Supreme Court justice) in “Marshall.” If mere mortals weren’t enough, how about the Egyptian god Thoth in the movie “Gods Of Egypt”? To top it off, he recently scored a five picture movie deal with Marvel Studios as the super hero “Black Panther.” Boseman, who originally had planned on writing and directing, is now one of the most sought after actors in Hollywood. He begins his solo run in the Marvel universe on February 16th, the release date for “Black Panther.” Look for him to pounce victoriously at the box office.

LOCATION/DATE: Chicago International Film Festival, October 12th, 2017

Star12. Alfre Woodard

Alfre Woodard
Photo credit: Joe Arce of Starstruck Foto for HollywoodChicago.com

Alfre Woodard is often considered television’s most versatile actress, with 18 Emmy nominations for 17 different roles… she is the most honored African American actress in primetime Emmy history. She has won four Emmys, a Golden Globe, three SAG awards and was nominated for an Oscar. From her film debut the aptly named “Remember My Name,” the Oklahoma-born activist – from a self described family of story tellers – has most certainly made that the case.

Woodard cut her teeth on the stage, performing the play “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Enuf” thousands of times, and was good enough to include Lauren Bacall as her acting mentor and friend. And like Bacall, she was named by People Magazine as one of the most beautiful people in the world. I encountered her when she was given a Career Achievement Award from the Chicago International Film Festival on Black Perspectives Night. There I captured that divine face, so capable of telling so many stories. In 2018, Alfre Woodard will star in her pet project “Juanita,” which will no doubt rack up even more awards.

LOCATION/DATE: Chicago International Film Festival, October 21st, 2017

Star11. Sir Patrick Stewart

Sir Patrick Stewart
Photo credit: Joe Arce of Starstruck Foto for HollywoodChicago.com

TV Guide said it succinctly… “Sir Patrick Stewart was the best dramatic TV actor of the 1980’s.” The British-born actor has been recognized with a knighthood, and was formerly of The Royal Shakespeare Company. And Stewart was so convincing in his role as Captain Picard on “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and its successor films, that even he had difficulties separating the actor from the act.

In the movies, his character of Professor Charles Xavier in the X-Men series culminated in the film “Logan” in 2017, which finally may bring the Oscar to Stewart… the only acting award he hasn’t already claimed. I had the honor of photographing Sir Patrick right before he received his Golden Hugo Career Achievement Award at the Chicago International Film Festival.

LOCATION/DATE: Chicago International Film Festival, Chicago, October 25th, 2017

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