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.

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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.

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Jillian O'Connor



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