Monday, July 18, 2011

Male on Monday : : Gael Garcia Bernal

Anne McAllister is flying back home from Washington DC even as this is posted, so she hopes it gets online. If it doesn't, she apologizes and will go back to the drawing board as soon as she lands.

I first saw Gael Garcia Bernal in Y Tu Mama Tambien about seven years ago. I have remembered him ever since.

The Mexican actor/director began his career as a child, and by the time he was a teenager was a regular -- and increasingly, a heartthrob -- in Mexican telenovelas or soap operas.

At age 19, however, he left television to attend The Central School of Speech and Drama in London after a year at Mexico's national university studying philosophy.

According to one interview he considers his time in London "life-forming," but hadn't seriously thought of acting as more than an "odd-job profession" until he was cast in Amores Perros by Mexican director, Alejandro González Iñárritu and several subsequent films.

He has also worked in theatre, including in London, where in 2005 he was in Bodas de Sangre by Federica Garcia Lorca.

He's played Che Guevara twice, once in a television mini-series about Fidel Castro, and later in the film, The Motorcycle Diaries, based on a diary written by the young revolutionary about his travels in South America. He was nominated for a BAFTA award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for his role in the latter film.

Besides his acting, he began to direct in 2007 with a film called Deficit. In 2010 he co-directed a series of four short film documentaries about migrants from Central America which are available on the Amnesty International website.

Not confining his creative contributions to acting roles and directing, he has also contributed vocals to a Devendra Banhart album, has co-produced documentaries and done narrations. So . . . obviously multi-talented.

He chooses his films on the strength of the script and the issues they tackle. He doesn't shy away from the tough ones.

"I see it as my social duty," he says. "I am a person of the world - that is something I should do regardless if I am an actor or not. You have to be able to lead the life you are asking for; you have to show with example."

As a "person of the world" he speaks Spanish, English and Portuguese fluently, and is working toward fluency in French and Italian, which he says are coming along.

The 32 year old actor and girlfriend, Argentine actress, Dolores Fonzi, are the parents of two children, a son, Lázaro, and a daughter, Libertad.

He has recently finished filming Casa de Mi Padre and The Loneliest Planet is in post-production. He will be working on Hands of Stone and Silence in the coming year.
Keep an eye out for him -- you may find not just a compelling, intense, perennially watchable actor, but films that will make you stop and think as well.

Anne is sitting in an airport trying to remember when her next book, The Night That Changed Everything is coming out. She thinks it's an October Mills & Boon Modern in UK and a Presents Extra in November in the US. But she's not sure. She does remember that it's about the night that Demetrios Savas and his princess bride Anny got married. But they've already had their book. This one is about his cousin, Nick, and what happens when he meets the woman who changes not only one night but his whole life.

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