An Edmonton producer has chronicled the extraordinary life of a Hollywood actor in a new documentary.

Danny Trejo is best known for his roles in the films Con Air, Heat and Machete.

Inmate #1: The Rise of Danny Trejo tells the story of Trejo’s journey from life in prison to life starring in Hollywood blockbusters.

Adam Scorgie, the movie’s producer, says the story seems too unbelievable to be true.

“If it was made into a dramatic story you’d be like, ‘There’s no way someone faces execution and turns his life around and becomes arguably the most successful American-Mexican actor of all time. Get out of here.’”

Trejo’s story inspired Scorgie to leave Edmonton and follow Trejo around to create this documentary.

“When we met him we just like… you meet some of these people and you’re like I have to tell this story.”

Trejo spent much of his young life in and out of prison.

“He served 10 years in federal penitentiaries, he’s in and out from the time he was in juvenile hall, started doing heroin when he was 12, armed robberies when he was 13.” said Scorgie.

During his time in San Quentin, Trejo became a member of the 12-step program, which he credits with his success in overcoming his addictions. He’s been sober for 51 years.

“This man truly believes, and he says this in the film and you’ll see it in clips, is that everything good that has happened to him is a direct result of him helping somebody else.”

These good deeds started small, such as taking out the trash for his neighbours, to then helping out a sponsor on the set of Runaway Train which ultimately led to him booking his first movie role.

Trejo has since made appearances in about 250 film and television shows.

Scorgie says the man with the tough guy persona on screen, is actually the opposite off screen.

“When you meet Danny, and you find out he’s this huge joker, like even some people in the film said it almost feels like he’s a big kid now because he lost a lot of his childhood being in and out of prison and juvenile halls.” said Scorgie.

The documentary was partially filmed in the old Edmonton Remand Centre, Scorgie says it was the perfect backdrop for the film.

Trejo is no stranger to working in Alberta. The actor has spent a lot of time in the province making films, including the recently released movie Hashtag Roxy.

Inmate #1: The Rise of Danny Trejo makes its world premiere at the Calgary International Film Festival Saturday, and will play Edmonton’s Metro Cinema on Oct. 29.