Savages star Benicio Del Toro says meeting real ex-drug cartel members was a similar feeling to climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
"You go in strapped and you go in protected in some ways but you don't want to get too goofy or something like that, or you might fall off the bridge. Or you might just end up chopped liver," Del Toro told AAP in Sydney on Wednesday.
Del Toro, who's in Australia to promote Savages, plays sadistic Mexican cartel enforcer Lado in the movie.
It's been reported that Del Toro was the one who took director Oliver Stone to Mexico to meet some "heavies" - a piece of news he found surprising.
"I was the one with the connections?" he says.
"That's people that believe the characters that I play.
"No, actually we went down to Mexico, but I wasn't the one with the connections."
Regardless, he says the meeting was terrifying but invaluable to him and the cast.
"We met some people down there (in Mexico), we met some people in LA (Los Angeles) too, on both sides of this war on drugs, and it was very interesting, very informative for the preparation of the characters," he says.
Del Toro is in Australia until Sunday and Sydney and Melbourne are two stops on the trip.
Visiting the zoo is on his bucket list but, ever the actor, he says he likes to improvise when it comes to sightseeing.
Which was exactly how he ended up climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
"It was an improvisation. We didn't plan to do it, we just saw some people up there and were like, `wait a sec'," he says.
"And it was fantastic. Great view, great history and a little bit of an edge to it. It's kind of scary being up there when the wind is blowing, you look down and the cars are this big. Beautiful."
* Savages releases in Australian cinemas on October 18