Gael Garcia Bernal

A Mexican stage and TV vet at age 23, Gael Garcia Bernal made his film breakthrough last year in the edgy critical favorite Amores Perros.


The Guadalajara native nailed his performance as the quiet, angry youth wooing his sister-in-law not just with superior acting skills but with large, mournful eyes, which helped convey a betrayed idealism that crossed language boundaries. Now, after a well-received performance as Che Guevara in last winter's English-language Showtime film Fidel, Bernal is in another Mexican megahit that has made its way north--Alfonso Cuarón's raunchy sex farce Y Tu Mama También. As one of two horny teens who take an impromptu road trip with a sexy older woman, Bernal costars with lifelong pal Diego Luna (Before Night Falls).

Q: How was your trip to the Oscars in 2001 for Amores Perros?

A: It was a surprise--it was a kind of difficult movie for best foreign-language film. But I felt proud, like, "Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! We're gonna go, but we're not gonna win!"

Q: You and Diego are friends with Salma Hayek, and you yell her name during one particular, ahem, masturbatory scene in Y Tu Mama. Did that make you uncomfortable?

A: No, no, no. It was an honor to be able to say her name out loud. And actually, we asked her for permission. [Laughs] She said it's the best film she's ever been in.


Jillian O'Connor