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Gael García Bernal: The Election ‘Unveiled a Lot of Hypocrisy’

Variety logo Variety 12/14/2016 Seth Kelley
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Gael García Bernal broke onto the scene in such films as Alejandro González Iñárritu’s “Amores Perros” and Alfonso Cuarón’s “Y Tu Mamá También.” At last year’s Golden Globes, he was named best lead actor in a comedy or musical TV series for his role as a passionate and unpredictable conductor in Amazon’s “Mozart in the Jungle,” now in its third season. Up next, U.S. audiences will see him in Pablo Larraín’s “Neruda,” which bows Dec. 16.

You won a Golden Globe last year. How did you find out about it, and what was that night like?

I was on a train in France, and I got a phone call. I was like “Nice one!” And then being there at the awards ceremony, I felt really proud. I thought about how the awards would give the show more life and give the characters more life. So I feel really grateful.

You have two very different films, “Neruda” and “Desierto,” in contention this year for a foreign-language Oscar. Are there any similarities?

They’re both very political. They’re both poetical, as well. I hope these two films get in the mix. It’s one of the most interesting categories — 85 films from all over the world. It’s really only the best of the best. But I think we should change the name from “foreign language” because, come on, Spanish is not a foreign language. In the United States, it’s not.

In October you told Stephen Colbert that in Mexico, Donald Trump’s campaign went from a “joke” to striking “nervousness, fear, and anger.” Now how do you feel?

It’s been bad. There’s also the immediate sense of empowerment it gives you — it has unveiled a lot of hypocrisy. We have to change many things.

Where were you when you found out about Fidel Castro’s death?

I was at a small gathering of people in a bar … and we heard the news. So we had a drink to the end of the 20th century. Fidel was one of the main characters of self-determination that a country should have. But at the same time, he was an example of what a dictator can be — it can lead to many terrible things…. I may be critical that there is no freedom in Cuba, but at the same time in Mexico I see a misery that doesn’t exist in Cuba. It’s not that by criticizing I’m saying that one thing is better.

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