Author Topic: ..Gael Garcia Bernal.  (Read 4473 times)

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..Gael Garcia Bernal.
« on: November 06, 2003, 10:44:51 PM »
I have seen him in only Ameres Perros and Y tu Mama TAmbien.
i think this guy will go FAR.. seems to have a very likable onscreen presence
(a la clooney, pitt, cruise).....and will do risque roles  (YTMT).....
hopefully he will crossover..and work with of .America's filmaking talents..
for me its hard to judge and  foreign languauge actor's range/talent b/c im reading the bottom of the screen and cannot catch all of the nuances...but I caugh enough to believe that he's pretty good so far....

you guys think he's any good......

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..Gael Garcia Bernal.
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2003, 10:54:10 PM »
I've seen him in those two movies and The Crime of Padre Amaro, (which is Mexico's highest grossing film ever) and I was surprised to how different of an impression he did give in it from the ones in those two films. He does play a young priest though, so its to be expected. I'm not sure if I really have an opinion yet on him. He is daring, but also seems to rely on good looks like other young actors. I just have good hope he'll continue to take on challenging projects and extend his abilities. Isn't he suppose to be in the next Pedro Almodovar film, The Bad Education, or is that the other kid from Y Tu Mama Tambien?


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..Gael Garcia Bernal.
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2003, 10:57:50 PM »
Quote from: The Gold Trumpet
Isn't he suppose to be in the next Pedro Almodovar film, The Bad Education, or is that the other kid from Y Tu Mama Tambien?

Yes, he will be in Almodovar's film. The other kid, Diego Luna, is working on Spielberg's "Terminal".
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..Gael Garcia Bernal.
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2003, 12:24:14 AM »
He's one sexy dude. Plus he's dating Natalie Portman. That's one sexy couple.


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..Gael Garcia Bernal.
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2003, 12:45:29 AM »
Quote from: Ghostboy
He's one sexy dude. Plus he's dating Natalie Portman. That's one sexy couple.

Good career move.


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..Gael Garcia Bernal.
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2003, 10:16:28 AM »
Quote from: The Gold Trumpet
He is daring, but also seems to rely on good looks like other young actors.

how does he rely on his good looks?
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..Gael Garcia Bernal.
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2003, 12:08:41 PM »
he was working in "The Motorcycle Diaries" too, and he was in Peru somedays to make that movie, where he's El Ché Guevara an Argetinian revolutionary who's a kind of hero in Cuba, but i think i'm more interested to see him in the Almodovar's movie
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..Gael Garcia Bernal.
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2003, 12:29:09 PM »
seems to have a very likable onscreen presence

oh yes
but he's a good actor also


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Re: ..Gael Garcia Bernal.
« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2006, 09:24:29 PM »
I expect Fernando to give xixax exclusive updates in form of an on-set diary about his progress.  :yabbse-wink:

Garcia Bernal directing first film
Source: Hollywood Reporter

MEXICO CITY -- Mexican star Gael Garcia Bernal will make his directorial debut with a low-budget feature film that focuses on class differences in Mexico.

Upstart shingle Canana Films, run by Garcia Bernal, his "Y Tu Mama Tambien" co-star Diego Luna and producer Pablo Cruz, will produce the drama, which remains untitled. Garcia Bernal will topline alongside Camila Sodi, Luz Cipriota and Tenoch Huerta.
The story is an adaptation of an episode of "Ruta 32," a series that Canana has been developing for television, which stars Garcia Bernal. Kyzza Terrazas, who directed a short titled "Birdkillers," penned the script.

"It has been quite an organic experience to start directing," Garcia Bernal said in an interview. "I'm discovering a new world."

Canana is prepping the project, and filming will begin within two months in Tepoztlan, Mexico. Filmmaker Eugenio Polgovsky, whose "Tropico de Cancer" inspired Canana to launch a 15-city documentary tour in Mexico, will serve as director of photography.

Mexico City-based Canana has a two-year deal in place with Focus Features. The agreement gives Focus worldwide rights to Canana's planned slate, which includes low-budget Spanish-language films as well as higher-budget English-language productions.

"Focus has been involved since Day 1, and they know the story well," Cruz said. "But we really wanted to make a humble Mexican project, so we might try to distribute it ourselves."

A release date has not been set.

Cruz said Canana is looking to make cost-efficient, socially minded pictures that depict a more realistic view of Mexico.

"We don't want to reveal too much about the story," he said. "But what I can say is that it explores in a comedic way how two distinct social classes interact at a family get-together in a house near Mexico City."

Canana believes Mexico sorely needs quality, low-budget features.

"Production costs in Mexico are very high," Cruz said. "Public broadcasters spend $3,000 to produce one hour of content. To produce one hour of content in cinema, it costs $1 million. There has to be something in between that."

Garcia Bernal said Canana was launched to create a platform to tell interesting stories that often go untold in feature films. "We want to reinvent a new way of producing here in Mexico," he said.
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol

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Re: ..Gael Garcia Bernal.
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2006, 10:05:25 PM »
I admire Mr. Bernal on, erm, every front. He seems to have a lot of integrity and wisdom when choosing role, and the skill and screen presence to pull them off. And nobody, but nobody, has ever been more beautiful in both the "feminine" and the "masculine" ways--and both in the same film, yet! Good for him on this endeavor. I think Mexican cinema has had a great deal to offer since the turn of the millennium, and it looks like he means to continue that trend. I'll eagerly await the results.
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Re: ..Gael Garcia Bernal.
« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2006, 12:38:02 PM »
Gael Garcia Bernal
The actor and director talks about his journey from stage school to working with some of the biggest names in Latin American cinema, why it is impossible to take the politics out of Mexican film-making and the 'cage of melancholy' that surrounds his country's cinematic tradition
Source: Guardian Unlimited

Geoff Andrew: We're going to be talking about Mexican film-making, Latin American film-making and Gael's contributions and ideas about that. Gael, we know that you decided at a very early age that you wanted to act, but when did you decide you wanted to act in films?

Gael Garcia Bernal: I didn't know I wanted to do films until I started to do them. Very few films are made in Mexico and film-making belonged to a very specific group, a clique. And my parents didn't participate in that group - they were more theatre actors. But it just happened. I came to London to study a three-year course, and about a year and a half into it, I was invited to do casting for Amores Perros. I got a phone call from Alejandro González Iñárritu, the director, and he asked me to read something, videotape myself and send it back to him. I had never done casting before in my life, so I did exactly what he told me to do. After that, I got a phone call back from him saying, "Let's do it." So he sends me the script, and I said yes - well, I was going to say yes anyway. But there was one big problem - my school [the Central School of Speech and Drama, London] didn't allow me to work. In England, they don't let you miss school - if you miss school for three days, you get chucked out. In Mexico, this is completely incomprehensible. So I told Alejandro, and he came up with a very good Latin American solution to this problem - he said that a relative was a director of a hospital and he would be able to get me a medical certificate to say that I had contracted some big tropical disease on my last visit to Mexico. That was perfect because I had no hair when I got back here from Amores Perros and people believed me completely. I only missed one week of drama school, so it wasn't that bad. But my movement teacher told me to take it easy and my classmates sent get well cards to me in Mexico, so it was embarrassing.

A year and a half after that I was invited to do Y Tu Mamá También - the director had helped in the editing of Amores Perros and invited me on that basis. So I came back to school from doing Y Tu Mamá También and people were surprised that a film I'd been in was already playing at Cannes. It felt like a little thing - I asked the producers when I was doing Y Tu Mamá También if they could give me a VHS recording of the film that I could show to my family, because in Mexico and Latin America, when you do a film, you don't expect anybody to see it, especially not in the cinema. They never did give me the VHS recording I asked for, but then I was asked to go to Cannes to present Amores Perros. And little did I know that this film would be huge. I saw it for the first time in Cannes, and it was the first time I'd seen myself on such a big screen. And it had a huge impact on me - it was the strangest feeling. I was completely taken in and moved by the way the film transcended our experience of making it, the way it captured it. Many coins dropped into my brain [the penny dropped] - I understood the nature of cinema. When it's good, cinema can be one of the most important things in a person's life. A film can be a catalyst for change. You witness this and it is an incredibly spiritual experience that I'd never lived before; well, maybe only in a football match. But that's when everything started for me in film. I never thought I would do a film - that all seemed so far away. Honestly, I never thought I would be here, talking to you. I feel such huge pride. I used to come to see so many amazing directors, actors, writers and theorists talk cinema when I was a student, so I am really, really, really proud to be here talking to you.

GA: Amores Perros was a breakthrough film in many respects. It brought Mexican cinema a much higher profile than it had enjoyed in a while, and was followed by Y Tu Mamá También very shortly. Y Tu Mamá También, while on the surface being about two horny teenagers going after an older woman...

GGB: With good reason.

GA: With good reason. But while they're talking about sex, the film is showing you other things, like people getting arrested, living in villages that are much poorer than the backgrounds of the two boys. It's very much a film that tries to show Mexico in a fresh light. It has an almost documentary feel, like The Motorcycle Diaries. You have set up a film company, Canana, with Diego Luna and you've also set up a travelling documentary film festival, Ambulante. Where did this interest in documentary come from?

GGB: I guess the starting point for Ambulante was our very good friend, Eugenio Polgovsky, who did a film as his thesis for CCC, one of the biggest schools for cinema in Mexico. The film is called Tropico de Cáncer. And the film started to do amazingly well - winning festivals and starting to travel. But there was no interest to release it in Mexico. Of course not, because there's no niche for it in Mexico's film infrastructure. But if you create an audience, then you create the demand for such films to be shown, seen and made. So we thought we'd help to distribute Tropico de Cáncer. So how do you distribute a film when you have no money? You tell everybody that it's good and they should see it. So that's basically what we did. And we had a brilliant proposal from a very close friend - he suggested that we make a rock tour, but for documentaries. I was very drunk at the time so it sounded amazing. But it was hard to pick it up and put it into a structure. So we got together 20 documentaries and we were going to take them around the country. How? With what money? That's when we had to start thinking about things that we had no clue how to do. By this point, we had already thought of setting up this production company, Canana. The name, by the way, comes from the bullet belt that revolutionaries wear. I thought it was brilliant at the time. So anyway, we were learning how to set up and run a company. Imagine, Diego and me, we're pretty primitive. We didn't even know how to keep a car running, we didn't know how to do anything. But luckily, one of our best friends, Pablo Cruz, was already a producer, and he helped us build the production company. And Ambulante was a festival organised in only two months. We chose the best documentaries that we had seen - some of them could participate while others couldn't. At the same time, we worked on the promotion and sponsorship, because obviously we had no money to do this. Fortunately we found a really good partner, which was the Morelia film festival. We also got support from Cinepolis, which is the biggest cinema chain in Mexico - they offered a place for these documentaries to be shown, for a week at a time, in cities where documentaries were never shown before. We also went to the press and it all started to happen. It's been successful in a number of cities and next year it's going to be even stronger. Who knows where this will get us, but at least it's creating a niche and demand for documentaries to be seen in Mexico.

GA: You and Diego have both directed, you with Deficit and Diego with a documentary as well. When did you decide that you wanted to try directing?

GGB: I think since I was in drama school, I wanted to direct in the theatre. When you are an actor, you just have to open your eyes and you start to learn a lot about how to survive on set and what's important and how to tell a story. Directing is really about putting yourself out there, to be slapped in a way. You know that in the kitchen, you're gonna get burned. It's very scary but very exciting as well. If you have something to say, you have nothing to lose and you probably learn from the experience. Most probably you'll end up finishing the film, and hopefully - and this is less probable - it'll be brilliant. At the end of the day, who the hell knows whether the story that you tell is going to interest anybody else. So anyway, Diego - it's a shame he couldn't come tonight as he is right now rehearsing a play called Festen in Mexico. Well, Diego found the perfect subject for a Mexican documentary - the life of Julio Cesar Chavez, one of the biggest boxers in Mexico. Mexico's very good at boxing, probably the only thing Mexico's extremely good at.

The film that I did came out of a workshop for a TV series called Ruta 32. We were going to do a series of stories set in all 32 states in Mexico. I wanted to do this because I'm from Guadalajara and I've never seen a film or anything on TV that portrays my city, and it's a city of about five million people. So it was one of those obvious things - why not? But it was very hard to sell that format on TV. "We want to do this series of stories in each state." "What are the stories about?" "Well, one is about how the military is colluding with the drug traffickers. One is about people getting kidnapped at the beach. One is about the kidnapping of a woman at the border in Ciudad Juarez." We didn't get any response from any of the TV stations or private financier we pitched this to. We are still hoping to do this one day, if only to document Mexico at this time. But I had this story that I had written, set in the state of Morelos, south of Mexico City, and that became a film because that was the easiest way to get finance.

GA: Amores Perros is a film that its director Alejandro González Iñárritu has described as political. Obviously what you've been talking about is political. Even Y Tu Mamá También points up inequalities in society, and you are quite a political person outside of your film work. How important is it to you to have a political aspect to your film-making?

GGB: There was this writer, [Georg] Büchner, who said that for him to begin to write anything, his point of departure was not the story, but rather he had to completely understand the politics of it and then develop the story to fit the politics. This was in the 1820s and he died when he was 24 of flu. Imagine, 24. He wrote three plays - Woyzeck, Leonce und Lena and Danton's Death - which are still put on again and again. The story he tried to tell was about the unification of Germany after the French Revolution. At the time, the union was unstable, and the conservative right was winning. He was aching for the French revolutionary ideals to be in place in the new unified German state. He was persecuted and he had to hide and go into exile. And ever since I read him, I understood on a practical level what one can achieve when telling a story. It is truly impossible to take politics out of any story made in Latin America or Mexico. The place demands that you involve its history. It would be very disappointing not to use that wider scope. I think Y Tu Mamá También is a truly involved political film that will be more important in 10 years' time because it is a document of something that was happening in Mexico right after the fall of the PRI, the party that was in power for 72 years. So it is inevitable to be political and I must say it is irresponsible not to acknowledge it. It augments the fiction and it is there to be grabbed and used, without the politics having to be spoon-fed to the audience.

GA: You've been very supportive of Mexican film-makers and film-making, fostering a sort of renaissance. You've also been doing that within the larger context of Latin American film - you've just come from making a film in Argentina. It seems that The Motorcycle Diaries for you, as it was for Guevara, was about getting a greater sense of the common struggle. Was making Motorcycle Diaries important to you in coming to that feeling?

GGB: It was a big reaffirmation of wanting to work, live and travel throughout Latin America, and of wanting to know myself. It was a film where, if I'd been a bit detached from it, it would have been a useless experience. You had to give yourself and transform yourself as the two guys on that journey transformed themselves. Obviously it was a different time 50 years ago. Now we have the good fortune of knowing a little better the history of Latin America. It is more complex, but things have changed for good, and bad. It is a journey that has changed our lives forever. In Latin America, we have the same problems everywhere - in some places it's more evident than others. We have the same inconsistencies, we share the same failed, neo-liberalist dreams. And we share the same sense of disgust with what democracy has given us. But we share the same hope as well that things will work out. And another thing that we share is that we know that money is not worth anything. When I was a kid, I saved money to go travelling. Overnight, my money became worth four times less than the day before. And this was my case, which was really not dramatic. There were people who were starving because of that. Now, we're living in a difficult moment - there're two very clear sides and both are becoming radicalised. The middle ground, the basis of democracy, is losing itself. We have to get back together, and understand and accept that we are countries that were created out of colonial caprices, we are countries that were not necessarily meant to be. It was the church that decided where the countries' borders would be, so there's nothing we can do but keep on searching and fighting. Throughout our history, there's a sense of cycles repeating - of violence, of people with privileges overthrown by those without privileges who want those privileges for themselves. That doesn't mean justice. Still, I hope for the best. I think that by working together is where Latin American cinema can find its place. I think we should work as a bloc: we share the same language - the case of Brazil is different, but we share the same circumstances and we might as well work together. You go to a film festival and you find one stand called Asian cinema - in Asia, they speak so many languages and the cultures are so very different, and there're more people and it's more diverse there. And then you go to the Mexican stand, the Argentinian stand, the Cuban stand, the Colombian stand and you're lost. We should work as a bloc.

GA: You've had great success around the world. You've worked in films that aren't Mexican - not yet in Hollywood but you have worked in an independent American film. Has that fame resulted in any backlash against you in Mexico?

GGB: I've had a really short career really - I feel I have a lot to learn and discover and I want to keep on working and get better at what I do. And travelling, that gives you the experience of working with other people and challenging yourself to do very different characters from the kind you would do if you were only working in your own country. But maybe the backlash in Mexico has to do with the fact that you put yourself out there. There'll always be people who don't like your work - it's common and it's normal. I myself don't like some people's work and love that of others. It is easier to dislike the work of someone when you are separate from it and completely outside; if you have intentions of getting inside, that's resentment, and that's another thing altogether. But when you're separate from it, it is very common and easy to be very clear, for people to be able to say, "I liked you in this, I didn't like you in that." I'm sure this doesn't happen only in Mexico, it happens all over the world. Some people may not like the work that I do - I agree with them - that's completely understandable. But in the meantime, there's something more important - what matters is the practical side of things. I have a strong commitment, with my acting comrades, to making things happen in Mexico and in Latin America. Why? Because that's where we can fly, where we can find ourselves, and get to know how good we can be. We can try out different things: there're a million stories to be told and we've the urge and itch to tell these stories, be true to ourselves and be consistent and keep on doing what we like. So really, that's a nice backlash to have.

GA: We had a panel on Mexican film-making here last week, and Carlos Cuarón, the writer of Y Tu Mamá También who hopes to direct Gael in a film at some point soon, said that one of the things Mexico suffered from was renaissance-itis; you have a renaissance every six years with a new administration, but they never amount to anything substantial. But Amores Perros and Y Tu Mamá También showed that you could reach out to a wider public, and private financing really could work. Do you think after Amores Perros and Y Tu Mamá También something really has changed? That something's really going to happen now?

GGB: In terms of numbers, yes. When we did Amores Perros, Mexico only made six films that year. Now, according to Imcine [Mexican Film Institute] official figures there will be 65 films made this year. So it is a big impact. But I don't know how many of those films will be seen. The point is not just making them but of them becoming reality, of becoming films that are shown in the cinemas. I hope that this new material that is coming along has enough strength so that they become inspirations for more film-makers, actors, technicians, make-up artists, costume designers, etc, to start to work and develop a strong industry in Mexico, that used to exist not so long ago. Also there is the issue of representing Mexico: we're a country of about 105 million. And 65 films for 105 million - we need at least one film for every million citizens. That would be great. And the government, with some very simple tweaks, could help us even more. They are already helping us with a tax break. But it can develop into something more real - they can make adjustments to the law, create a screen quota, they can charge a small admission tax, like they do in Argentina, so that a portion of every ticket sold goes to its Institute of Film-making and that funds films. They have a subsidy there which is proportional to the number of people who see your film. So, for example, if 100,000 people see your film, you get $100,00, and if 100,000 see your next film, you get another $200,000. In Mexico, all that we need is just a push. People are already interested in investing in films, in making them and telling stories. And people are starting to realise that you don't need a lot to make a film. Sure, for a big film, you still need a Hollywood budget. But for a small little film, it is quite immediate the way you can get the money. Carlos Reygadas is a great example. Nobody had heard of him before, he was a lawyer, and then he did one brilliant film, and then another brilliant film, and nobody knew how he got it together. But he's done it in a very independent way and I hope that this continues. And this hybrid, the most difficult hybrid of all, between government and the private sector, is most definitely working.

GA: We're now going to throw it open to the audience. Please don't ask if Gael will read your script, and please don't ask him to marry you.

Question 1: Could you talk a little bit about Chiapas and the Zapatistas, and how that has affected artists in Mexico?

GGB: Well, the uprising came together with Mexico's entry into the North American Free Trade Agreement, a huge devaluation, a volcano eruption and also a political scandal. So that was a very intense year. Politics was on your doorstep and inside your house. And so, your involvement in it was very direct and you couldn't escape from it. I was about 14 or 15 when it happened. There was a war going on, between the government and this armed movement that sprang from this state that we had never heard of, it was so little present in our heads. All of a sudden it put on our whole society's conscience the effects of Nafta and the injustices that were committed. And it brought home to us the intense marginalisation that exists in Mexico. Mexico at that time was living in a fantasy - a kind of honeymoon. I remember this newspaper headline that said "Mexico is about to enter the first world". There were these things that were completely idiotic because the reality was not like that at all. All the power and money were concentrated in very few hands and the rich were getting richer and the poor getting poorer. And the middle class was disappearing completely. So it was a moment to hold on to what was important. And basically, the majority of people protested against a war happening within the country. These protests had a strong impact on the government and made them stop the war. Then negotiations started and that's when the problems began. Negotiations led to disagreements, then they're dropped and then continue again. It is a very horrible situation and like the rest of Latin America, it is a very unjust country. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer and there is little middle ground. It will only implode if we don't do something about it.

Q2: You've played such a diverse range of roles, from murderers to transsexuals to crazy people. I just wondered which one you identified with most, or at least which one you enjoyed playing most?

GGB: You enjoy playing the extremes, definitely. The transsexual part, I loved it.

Questioner 2: You looked good as a girl.

GGB: Thank you. It took a long time to get dressed up and to have that thong, that was the most extreme situation that I have gone through. That was the biggest stunt that no double would do, getting that thong in place. Some of you might be aware of [Spanish screen star] Sara Montiel - she's a very difficult character to imitate, and there's a little bit of her in the Quizas, Quizas, Quizas bit. And it was also very difficult to imitate Sara Montiel among Spaniards - it's like somebody telling me about the best tequila that's not from Mexico. So it was very difficult, and beauty costs, beauty hurts and it takes a long time to get done. But I have to say that the character I most empathise with, or actually most identify with and is most similar to me, is Julio from Y Tu Mamá También.

GA: I was hoping you were going to say Ernesto Guevara.

Question 3: Like you, I am studying acting in London. I'm quite sad to leave Mexico but I couldn't find opportunities there, especially not in theatre and film. Even though I am training here now, will this get me a job when I go back to Mexico? And I'm wondering if I should go back. So what do you think Mexico has to do to keep people in the country, so that they don't have to go away to look for opportunities elsewhere?

GGB: Every day, something like 10,000 people cross the border between Mexico and the US looking for opportunities. Most of them risk their lives while doing this. Shamefully, Mexico isn't a country that provides opportunities equally and democratically to everyone. Although I must say that there is a myth as well about that, because if you have something to tell, you will find a way to do it. You might get frustrated doing it but hey, that's the country we live in. I've been going in circles thinking about this. I've tried to say to myself that it could be better living somewhere else, but how is it better to be an exile from myself? I want the chance to live and experience the country that I come from. I keep struggling and fighting against these very seductive offers that, in the making, require that I live somewhere else indefinitely. It is a shame that it has to be like that. But you are young. If you don't have a family then there's no excuse. Try, at least. Really, it is a place that needs people willing to do something and that are not drawn into the myth, although there is truth to it. That is the reality for the people who come from the Sierra, that drink Coca-Cola all their lives because there is no clean water, and so it is necessary to go to the United States to have a better life. But with you, you're in London now and I don't think you face that kind of extreme situation. I might be wrong, but I don't think you do. So you might as well try it and find out. But really try. Because it is hard, but then it is hard here as well.

Question 4: What was it like working with Almodóvar in Bad Education and how is it different working in Spain versus working in Mexico?

GGB: The food is very different. And the time you start working - in Spain you start working at 10am, while in Mexico you start at 6 or 7am. Don't you find it weird that in poor countries, people work a lot, so when you go into the countryside, you see so many people working in the fields and so many things going on. Whereas when you go to a rich country, you don't see anybody yet everything is done. And everything is clean - somebody's done it, but when do they do it? I never see the people working in the fields and then suddenly you find everything is in neat rolls. I don't know why. In Spain, it is kind of the same. Spanish people take the whole summer off from work - it's great and I envy that. Mexicans can't afford that. So that was very different. And Almodóvar is one of those people who can give himself that luxury, he can start shooting any time he wants, he can hire any actor he wants. He's a great director. He's very specific - he tells you how many steps to take from here to there. If he says it's nine steps, you have to make it in nine. So that creates a tension, but it also creates a world. He's one of the few directors in the world who do that - he creates a very specific world. He did it his way, like Frank Sinatra. He was a minority in a country exploding out of censorship and oppression. I learned a lot from him.

Question 5: Are you involved in any social justice projects? I know that you're using your film company to address injustices.

GGB: There's a great organisation that sprouted in Oxford, called Oxfam, which is a major force around the world. I participate in their projects, I help in whatever way I can, I give them my time when I am able. I also develop things with them which can address economics at a broader level than just at specific country level. It's very interesting working with them, and I have learned a lot and experienced much that I would not have doing films and theatre, and it's incredibly fulfilling. Happily I give myself to that, and to getting the word out there of what's going on. Right now, we're trying to establish a custom in Mexico that all proceeds from film premieres should go to charity. It's very difficult but it's going to happen. There're many other things that I'd like to do but haven't had the time, space and energy to do, so I cannot say at the moment because I haven't done them yet, or else I'll be called a liar.

Question 6: When you came to London, did you always know that you would return to Mexico, bringing those skills back, or did you consider staying here? And also, what did you think of the recent very contested Mexican elections?

GGB: Ooh. When I first came here, my dream, my objective was to work in a theatre company and travel all over the world with the theatre company, be it here in England or Mexico. I always knew that I would go back to Mexico to do things. So that was my goal. Or to keep studying at Unam, the national university. I got in and left because there was a strike - we all left. So I wanted to go back and finish the degree I was doing. But then I turned to films and all this happened. About the election, phew! Of course, I can only speak for myself here. There was a vote, and votes are secret. [eyebrow raised] But I can say that this has been one of the most difficult moments for democracy in Mexico. If they say fraud was committed here, then I believe that fraud was committed long before because there was a dirty war against one of the contestants. By the time of the election, if you were in Mexico and you were in parts from Morelia upwards, everyone voted for Calderon [Felipe Calderón Hinojosa of the incumbent National Action Party]. This is something that people in Mexico City find hard to believe. And whoever won this election was going to win by this tiny margin, from one side or the other. Of course I sympathise with Andrés Manuel López Obrador [of the centre-left Party of the Democratic Revolution] to begin with because it was the party that was much more in tune with my voting preference. But the margin was so tight, and the whole thing went absolutely bonkers, and it was impossible to follow. Right now, it is the time to find common ground, and fortunately they are finding it. Now that they are negotiating in the legislative chamber, they're finally realising that they have more than 50% in common. But they've always had these points in common, but they were too busy hitting the other in the struggle to get into the seat. Now, fortunately, hopefully, election campaigns are only going to be two or three months long, when before it was like two years long. I'm trying to be optimistic, that everything will be all right.

Question 7: Now that you're in postproduction on your own film, can you tell us which do you prefer, acting or directing, and why?

GGB: Acting. Because you observe more, and you have more time to see the sights and enjoy. It is the thing I have the most fun with. Mind you, directing is incredibly fun, too. It's like a sweet venom, once you're bitten you wanna keep going back there. But in the meantime, acting.

Question 8: You're obviously a very politically engaged actor. What are your own plans for your own films, with Canana? What are you going to put in them to transcend the nostalgic feeling that you've put into your acting?

GGB: Well, the film that I've directed is called Deficit. It's not a market-oriented kind of film. Actually a lot of people told me you can't call a film by that title, but that's what it's called. Why? Because it's one of the words that we learned from a very early age - words such as deficit, crisis, devaluation, democracy. Those are words that I heard when I was growing up, so that's what the film's about. About words that have no meaning, yet have such deep impact in our own lives. And about us thinking that we know the meaning of these words but really we don't. At the end of the day, the film is about the end of impunity. I know it's very broad, I won't give you the details because I want you to see it, come on. And Canana is doing pretty well - we have a lot projects coming up. We have one film coming up that we co-produced with some other guys, called Drama/Mex.

GA: It's showing at the London film festival.

GGB: And we also produced a film that's just wrapped, a movie called Cochochi, which happens in the Taraumara mountains. And there are other projects coming along. A couple of them are about to be finalised and I just need to call someone to ask if I can talk about them, but I won't here. But those films may happen. And Ambulante's happening next year. We just want to provide an opportunity to anyone who wants to do a film to come and start a conversation. You asked about the nostalgic feeling in my work - well, that's the nature of it. There is this vision of Latin America as a place of pure celebration, but actually I see it as a cage of melancholy, but melancholy flies a lot and looks like a happy bird. Octavio Paz put it so well, it's a labyrinth of solitude.

Question 9: How important do you consider drama school to be for an actor, as opposed to just trying to jump into the film industry?

GGB: Very important. For me, I'm a strong believer in academia in this sense. I really feel that whoever wants to act really should go to drama school. You should really try it because it's the best place where you can fuck it up real bad and it's the safest place to do that. It's the place to throw yourself out there and give yourself to it: you'll cry and you'll have a very bad time but you'll also have a huge awakening of something. There are good drama schools and bad drama schools, good teachers and bad ones, depending on the day sometimes, and how you receive things. But I think if you're completely open to someone's subjective interpretation of your work, it's incredibly important. Because when you come out of drama school, that's all you have - people's perception of you and your work. You might have an idea of what you're doing, but when you're on stage, you get lost. And that moment of losing yourself, of not knowing what the hell you're doing and thinking that you're going deep into a whirlwind and hoping that someone will catch you at the end, that is called a performance. That's when a director catches you, and that's when the audience acknowledges your leap of faith into something that's so incredibly unknown. This is why drama school is important. It is one of the strangest jobs in the world, but at the same time, it is one of the best, because you get to experience all the lives you can ever imagine, travel a lot, meet many friends, and most importantly, you get to fulfil one of the biggest objectives I had in my life: to meet girls. That was my main reason for wanting to become an actor.

GA: You may not want to go home but sadly some of our staff have to. You can see more of Gael in the closing night film at the London film festival, Babel, and you can go see Drama/Mex at the London film festival. But before you do that, would you please thank Gael Garcia Bernal.

GGB: I want to say one more thing before you leave, just one little thing. Whoever of you wants to be an actor, or film director, or writer or film producer or whatever. Honestly, I used to be sitting back there. I know this sounds like the biggest cliche ever, but it really is possible to tell a story and just go out and do it. Doesn't matter if only two people see it, doesn't matter if you get up on the stage and one of the lights goes out. It is important to tell a story and be faithful to yourself, be consistent. Just do what you like. So hopefully many people will go from here and do a film one day, even if it's in 10 years' time. I am very, very glad to be here and I'm getting very sentimental, but it's so important to me to be here. Thank you so much.
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol

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Re: ..Gael Garcia Bernal.
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2006, 11:39:07 AM »
I think the first line is about Lucid and her "wonderful" ten second meeting...

A leading man of the world
Gael García Bernal is Mexico's most alluring envoy.
Source: Los Angeles Times

LONDON -- There ought to be a name for them, "Gael's Groupies" or "Bernal's Babes" — something like that. Pleasant, seemingly respectable women who turn into starry-eyed teeny-boppers in the presence of Gael García Bernal.

Women, for instance, like Win Beaumont and her daughter, Christine. "He's so young, and he's done so much," the elder Beaumont gushes about the man who, according to Google, is the most famous Mexican this side of Frida Kahlo or Pancho Villa. "If he can get me going — and I'm 80! And his acting can only improve as he gets older."

Christine, 57, nodding, scans the lobby of Britain's National Film Theatre. "Do you think there's a stage door?" she asks her mum hopefully.

It's a brisk fall night on the banks of the Thames, but the NFT crowd is acting all hot and bothered. The object of their anticipation, García Bernal, has come to town to lend his celebrity aura to "Mexican Cinema Now," a six-week tribute to the country's celluloid renaissance.

Specifically, García Bernal is on hand for a screening of "Y Tu Mamá También" (2001), the steamy revisionist road movie that transformed him and his best-friend costar, Diego Luna, into international leading men. When the actor mounts the stage for a Q&A following the film, you might think you'd traveled back to 1964 and landed at a Beatles concert.

Squeals! Cheers! Mad applause! "Viva México!" someone shouts from a back row. "You look good as a girl!" blurts a young Brazilian woman, alluding to the actor's tarted-up turn as an homme fatal in Pedro Almodóvar's "Bad Education" (2004). Bernal smiles.

Well, to be honest, he looks good as just about anything, doesn't he? A conscience-stricken priest in "The Crime of Father Amaro." A street punk who lives off the earnings of his killer canine in "Amores Perros." A horny Chilango on the bumpy highway to self-awareness in "Y Tu Mamá." Or the youthful Ernesto "Che" Guevara of "The Motorcycle Diaries," another bildungsroman with a social conscience, in which García Bernal's furrowed brow serves as a virtual Thomas Guide to the tortured South American soul.

Last year he was as visible as ever, appearing in Alejandro González Iñárritu's much-feted "Babel" and taking the lead in Michel Gondry's post-Freudian romantic fable "The Science of Sleep." García Bernal aficionados can look forward to more of the same in 2007 and beyond. He'll be starring in Hector Babenco's "El Pasado" (The Past), which chronicles a married couple's difficult breakup, and is set to reteam with Luna as a pair of pro soccer players in Carlos Cuarón's "Rudo y Cursi."

Oh, and he also directed his first feature film, "Déficit," which he describes as a "generational allegory" focusing on a group of young, upper-class Mexicans coping with the country's ongoing socioeconomic upheavals.

More than a mere heartthrob, García Bernal, 28, is something of a throwback, or possibly an endangered species: a non-Hollywood global glamour boy with the talent to back up the pin-up persona. Half a century ago, it seemed, there were lots of these guys and their female equivalents on the art-house circuit: Marcello Mastroianni, Catherine Deneuve, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jeanne Moreau. Cosmopolitan actors with international appeal who managed to preserve a palpable connection to their own countries and cultures. But in the ensuing decades, as "foreign cinema" lost much of its old-school cachet, such performers have grown scarce. García Bernal, the most recognizable Mexican actor since the Golden Age of Pedro Infante and Dolores Del Rio, possesses an allure that translates across many different subtitles, plus the big-screen charisma of a Hollywood star.

Yet the next day, as he slides into a restaurant near Spitalfields Market for a late lunch, he is the picture of casual anonymity. Wearing thick-frame glasses, a rumpled leather jacket and a faded David Bowie T-shirt, he could pass for a punk-rock drummer or a young acting student trying to find his way in the world, which is what he used to be not so long ago.

García Bernal says he lived in this then-ungentrified neighborhood after turning away from the lucrative world of Mexican telenovelas, where he'd become a sensation while still in his teens. He left Mexico to study at the Central School of Speech and Drama, one of many odysseys that have led him to unexpected revelations.

"London is a great place that throws you, like if there was a bunch of lances pointing at your inner self, so that you deal with your introspection, your inner demons, thoughts and experiences," he says. "I think that's the reason why they [the British] are such great actors and actresses." Though he has since moved back to Mexico City, for years he kept London as a base. "Maybe the road to discovery," he reflects, "is to go to other places, not to those places that everyone goes to."

Sticking to roads less traveled by, García Bernal has arrived at an Andean summit that most performers his age only glimpse on the far horizon. He has done so despite having shot only one film to date in the United States, James Marsh's 2005 indie release "The King."

Beautiful chameleon

AT an age when many screen actors either are still struggling to find their identities, or already have been locked into type, García Bernal has achieved one of the most impressively promiscuous list of credits since Marlon Brando, in a comparable six-year span, churned out "The Men," "A Streetcar Named Desire," "Viva Zapata!" "The Wild One," "On the Waterfront" and "Guys and Dolls." (Brando then was slightly older than García Bernal is now.)

In the process, just as Brando did, García Bernal has crafted a compelling record of his personal passage from flaming youth to tangled manhood. "That's what's so extreme about filmmaking. It is the epidermis of yourself, you know?" Bernal says. "Films are a fingerprint of what you are at that moment."

Emotionally open and intensely thoughtful, Bernal seems very comfortable in his own epidermis. Though physically slight at 5 feet 7, he possesses an outsize magnetism, with a face whose handsomeness is more than the sum of its parts: the alert eyes, the Mick Jagger lips, the artfully tousled Greyhound-bus hair.

García Bernal's comeliness has a chameleon quality; as one fan observed on an all-things-Gael website, in "Bad Education" he looks prettier than Julia Roberts. But his beauty sports a masculine stubble, a dark asymmetry that side-steps androgyny, unlike certain of his chiseled-cheekbone peers.

He projects a combination of earnestness and recklessness, adolescent mischievousness and mature introspection, that's much more intriguing than standard-issue Latin macho. It's a sensibility that communicates across cultural and language barriers, inclusive of octogenarian English matrons.

Walter Salles, the Brazilian director of "Motorcycle Diaries," said in an e-mail interview that García Bernal's "richness" as an actor "lies in the fact that his intelligence and curiosity have granted him a much more complex understanding of life than a guy of his age normally has — and that becomes palpable in the roles that he plays."

Even as García Bernal's popularity has propelled him into acting jobs across the world, he holds fast to his Mexican identity. That sense of attachment to his native culture, he believes, has had a liberating effect on his career. "I feel completely free to be whatever," Bernal says. "But also in Mexico, as well, I can do whatever I want, behaving a certain way. Actually, if I was an actor from the United States it would be incredibly hard, because I would be pigeon-holed immediately."

García Bernal is regarded as royalty by the Mexican media and public, which take a proprietary attitude toward him, Luna, Salma Hayek and the rest of the country's talented young offspring. But Mexico's chattering classes are equally quick to raise a hue and cry about any perceived celebrity slight or faux pas.

If, for example, García Bernal politely declines to sign an autograph while he's in the middle of dinner, he says, "that's something that in Mexico they pick up a lot on — 'Oh, he didn't give me an autograph, he's lost it.' And it's funny because it's so ephemeral and so trivial."

Daniela Michel, director of the Morelia International Film Festival in the Mexican state of Michoacán, notes that García Bernal has continued to be a staunch advocate for Mexican and Latin American film, using his star power to help other artists and draw attention to social causes he cares about. She points, for example, to his helping to launch the Ambulante traveling documentary film festival last year.

"He puts his money where his mouth his," Michel says. "Gael wouldn't be Gael if he'd made [other] choices, going to Hollywood immediately after 'Amores Perros.' "

For García Bernal, both in his craft and in his life, the journey appears to matter as much as the destination, and each picaresque ramble leads him into a deeper encounter with the world and himself. His latest films extend that spirit of productive wanderlust. In "Babel," he's a well-meaning but reckless man whose anger-management issues boil over disastrously at a border crossing. In "The King," he plays the vaguely creepy, long-lost son of a Texas minister (William Hurt) and a prostitute.

And in "The Science of Sleep," he's a Mexican misfit in Paris, afloat in an absurdist dreamscape of job frustration, erotic longing and unresolved family issues. García Bernal's beguiling performance has some of the comic grace and bemused innocence of the old silent film stars, with a Buster Keaton-ish body language that suits the movie's visually lyrical style.

One of the film's many whimsical interludes finds him performing in a rock combo dressed in a bear or wolf costume, looking like Max in "Where the Wild Things Are." Just try picturing [insert name of your favorite Hollywood actor under 30 here] pulling that off and still cracking the top 20 of People's Sexiest Man Alive list.

The traveler

ALFONSO CUARÓN, who directed García Bernal in "Y Tu Mamá" and also is one of his closest friends, says the actor's selectiveness in choosing film roles and directors comes from his desire to keep learning and challenging himself.

"He never fell into the easy seduction of trying to have a career, the easy thing of taking the roles that will expose him to mainstream audiences," Cuarón says. "He knows, whatever he does, it's like a marathon."

Like Mastroianni, who cut a debonair-comic swath as a kind of anti-Latin lover, García Bernal has gravitated toward roles that simultaneously enhance and slyly subvert his Lothario image. His knight-errant outings usually have a self-mocking twist. In the final frames of "Science of Sleep," García Bernal's character sweeps up his beloved not on a trusty white steed, but a giant stuffed-toy pony. In "The Motorcycle Diaries," García Bernal's dashing Guevara and his faithful Sancho Panza sidekick (Rodrigo de la Serna) trek across South America on a woozy Norton 500 motorbike. García Bernal says that he and De la Serna, as well as Salles, felt that it was important in making "Motorcycle Diaries" to create an experience that would parallel the famous road trip. So they did.

"I was single as well, and going around in circles [in relationships], traveling a lot, and I was up for sleeping wherever the rain dictated that we had to stay," he recalls.

"It was a very interesting anthropological experiment, and cinematic experiment as well," he continues. "If that symbiosis wouldn't have happened, that hybrid between our experience and [the characters'] experience wouldn't have happened, the film wouldn't have anything to say, really, because then it would become a revisionist type of movie that we're so used to seeing, and also very shallow on a very important and deep theme, just as a journey of discovery of Ernesto or any young kid in Latin America, in those days and nowadays. That's the conclusion that we reached as well, that it could've been anyone."

Salles notes that García Bernal's interests were in many ways similar to Guevara's. "He was reading the same books, Camus, Celine. That kind of predisposition really created a situation which made me consider him one of the co-authors of the film."

The character García Bernal says he most identifies with is Julio Zapata in "Y Tu Mamá," a spoiled hedonist who discovers life's tragic side and his own hidden psychological depths during the course of a trip to a mystical beach with his gleefully crude friend (Luna) and an alluring older Spanish woman (Maribel Verdú). "I grew up in a very similar situation as Julio," García Bernal says. "I support [Mexico City soccer team] Pumas, I made a journey with friends to the beach many times. It is the role that I have much more in common with."

According to García Bernal, the process of making of "Y Tu Mamá," like that of "The Motorcycle Diaries," mirrored the movie's plot and themes. He credits this to his fellow actors and Cuarón's skill in creating a supportive but free-thinking atmosphere.

That combination of discipline and go-with-the-flow attitude paid dividends in the movie's memorable sex scenes, including the climactic ménage à trois that seals the emotional pretzel logic among the three leads. According to García Bernal, it was Verdú who took charge of her younger male costars when the going got hot. "Thanks to Maribel, really she was the one that grabbed our hands and put them on top of the boiling pots and in the oven, you know? She was the one that dared."

Even when playing oversexed, self-centered boy-men, García Bernal still comes off as "a good sport who couldn't be unappealing if he tried," as Anthony Lane of the New Yorker wrote in his review of "Science of Sleep." Lane's assertion may be put to the test if García Bernal gets cast as the villain opposite Matt Damon in Universal's upcoming third installment of the Bourne story, "The Bourne Ultimatum," as the Hollywood buzz machine has it.

A curious youth

THE narrative of García Bernal's outward-bound career trek begins in Guadalajara, where as a child he began performing in plays with his actor-parents when he a toddler. By the time he was a teenager, in the early 1990s, he was starring in the hit soap opera "El Abuelo y Yo" ("The Grandfather and I").

In 1996, at 15, he captured the lead role in the Oscar-nominated short film "De Tripas, Corazón" ("Guts and Heart"), a divertissement about a carnally curious milk-delivery boy in a provincial Mexican town who's smitten with an older female prostitute.

"That's basically the best film you can do about a young kid, no?" García Bernal says. "I mean, the discovery of sexuality coming amongst the whole discovery of oneself. 'The 400 Blows' really gave a lot to cinema, when it came out, because it started the trend of these films about young kids searching for something."

He then name-checks several other cinematic examples, such as "My Life as a Dog," plus landmark literary works that chart the long, hard slog toward maturity: J.D. Salinger's "The Catcher in the Rye"; "Un Hilito de Sangre" ("A Trickle of Blood") by the Mexican writer Eusebio Ruvalcaba; and Jack Kerouac's "On the Road," which García Bernal found "very close-minded" and "macho," despite its outlaw-hipster pose.

Two other literary works had heavy influences on his bookworm-ish youth: Albert Camus' "The Stranger" and "A Hero of Our Time," Mikhail Lermontov's 1839 short novel about a classic Byronic protagonist, an upper-class Russian army officer sent to bring "civilization" to the Chechens and the Cossacks. Instead, he winds up becoming a tyrannical tribal leader, rather like the British soldiers in Rudyard Kipling's "The Man Who Would Be King."

"I read it when I was 16, and it completely shifted me," Bernal says. "First of all, it was the opening of Russian literature, which ever since, nonstop, I've been rejoicing in and reading that. I read it before reading 'Brothers Karamazov.' It was a beautiful awakening to something that was so silent to me."

Lermontov's story also possesses what "On the Road" lacks, he says: ironic wit. It deals with "fighting against one's own demons," he says, "with irony and with intelligence and with delicacy."

Since his breakout performance in "Amores Perros," few demons, or roadblocks, have impeded García Bernal's ascent. The chief, predictable aggravation has been the tabloid-style media prying into his private life, which he guards closely, though not obsessively. His name has been linked romantically with Natalie Portman and Argentine actress Dolores Fonzi, and inevitably, some in the Mexican media and the blogosphere have fanned speculation about García Bernal's erotic tastes after his and Luna's smoldering kiss in "Y Tu Mamá." García Bernal takes the blather in stride.

"You would expect that after 'Y Tu Mamá También' people would shout at us something or whatever," he says. "I haven't had a single person dare say something like that. Because that film puts it out there as well, that it's not about who's gay or who isn't, it's about who's close-minded or who isn't, I think."

There's that term again — "close-minded." It pops up often in his speech, along with a handful of Britishisms ("whilst," "bonkers") that he picked up during his London sojourn. Clearly, García Bernal has determined to keep his own options wide open.

To that end, he's maintaining his commitments to projects such as AIDS prevention awareness in the developing world, for which he recently was commended by the organization Aid for AIDS. He has spoken out against U.S. immigration policy toward Mexico and joined other celebrities with Oxfam in lobbying the World Trade Organization to change a global trading system that he believes skews damagingly in favor of rich developed nations.

In a way, García Bernal's biggest political and artistic commitment is his decision to remain, for now, in his homeland. Mexico has suffered through a chaotic year marred by a disputed presidential election, violent clashes between striking teachers and the governor of impoverished Oaxaca state, and an epidemic of brutal drug-related crime. Yet García Bernal chooses to stay.

"Any explanation of why I like living there changes from day to day, and I still don't have it very well dissected," he says. "My family is there, my friends are there … I feel in touch with the territory.

"And I feel I still have kind of an effervescent ideal of thinking that there is an initiative that you're born with, about trying to make the place where you are born better…. I want to go into this journey and into this pathway that I'm meant to live, not because somebody told me, but because I'm trying to be congruent with myself."

"The best way I can put it," he concludes, "I don't want to become an exile of myself."

And with that thought, and a polite goodbye, he heads out into the London rush-hour in search of the next empty road.
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol

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Re: ..Gael Garcia Bernal.
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2007, 02:02:20 PM »
Has anyone watched this movie that stars gael called "dot the i" i watched it and i liked it...just curious what everyone else thought?
it's not the wrench, it's the plumber.


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