This weekend Writer/Director Carlos Cuarón will be releasing his first full length feature film, Rudo Y Cursi (which means Tough and Corny) starring Diego Luna (Tough) and Gael Garcia Bernal (Corny).
Cuaron received help from some of the biggest names in the business with this film; Carlos’ brother Alfonso Cuarón (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban), Alejandro González Iñárritu (Babel), and Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth) all teamed up to produce the film. Just to add to the family closeness on set, the two lead actors Luna and Bernal had not only worked with the Cuarón brothers before on Y Tu Mama Tambien, but have known each other since before either one of the can remember.
As a result you get a film with a lot of heart and a very playful interview. Check out what they all had to say below…
Diego and Gael, in the movie, you two go through all different types of sibling rivalry and get into a number of fights. Did it help you relate to characters because you to have been friends for so many years?
Diego: There was a lot of the energy we had when we where 12, 13; that kind of time where basically many things you are not achieving, you blame it on the other. But that is something we went through when we were very young, and we are not in that dynamic anymore.
Gael: Those fights happen in like monopoly. They are playing the game. ‘Ah, don’t hate me, blame the game.’
Do you guys remember the very first day you each met?
Diego: My father has told me that they came to visit us at the hospital [when I was born], but my father is like a professional liar. I don’t even know if he remembers when I was born. He has created a whole atmosphere, and in that atmosphere and in that fantasy; Gael came to visit me with his parents. [Our parents] were doing a theatrical play together called Tis Pity She’s A Whore by John Ford, and when Gael came to this world they were rehearsing and opening the play. I guess [at that time] my father and my mother where trying to make a baby, and it lasted for a long time, but I have a feeling that when I came to life when they were in performances. So they were really close to each other.
The story is about two young people gaining success, why did you choose football and singing as their claim to fame?
Carlos: In Mexico, three million and a half watched this big Mexican film. A National team game in Mexico is watched by maybe 80 million people. It is a big difference. That’s why, el Cursi , wants to be a singer because it is either football or singing, what gets you the fame and money and girls, and everything fast and easy. Well, not easy, but fast.
Gael: We went the wrong way. We should have been football players or singers.
Why do you think football is so popular everywhere except for the United States?
Gael: You explain it to us?
Carlos: The original reason: Remember there was a league in the 70′s with Pele. The problem was that there were no commercial breaks, and TV just wouldn’t pay for it because they need sponsors. And they started putting commercials in the middle, which is just obscene. You don’t see a football game that way. And it was not successful, so it was difficult to take roots here, and now its’ sort of starting to take roots with the MLS, and with the fact that the American girls are really good at playing football…
Gael: They are the best.
Carlos: Well together with the Norwegians and the Germans.
Gael: And the Brazilians.
Are you as good at playing soccer as you are in the movie?
Gael: As good as in the movie, no, because if not I would be a professional football player. I mean, I like playing a lot, but I’m not—I’m okay.
Who’s the best player?
Diego: There is no way to answer that unless there’s a ball.
Gael: The least worst is me.
Diego: That is what he thinks, but no.
Gael: I was the one casted as the football player; he was the goalkeeper.
Diego: There’s just one goalkeeper—I’m just saying I’m the taller one, and I needed to be the goalkeeper.
So how physically demanding were these roles for you guys? From being on the banana plantation to the actual athleticism involved?
Diego: It was harder working in the banana plantation, actually. It was very fun to do it, but the heat was horrible, and the bananas’ are heavy.
Carlos: You were injured— Your shoulder.
Diego: There is a line that el Rudo has, “You know you can run, but it’s all about technique.” And that is something you build with years. But it was not easy, for example I had to cut the bananas, and there is only one way to cut them without hurting the bananas. The chief of the ranch was teasing me a lot because I ruined all of the bananas. I hurt many bananas.
But I see that all of your fingers are still attached so that’s a good thing. Were there any injuries?
Diego: The first week of training I had this very stupid injury which is basically the ball is coming to you, and you don’t open your hands, so I got hit by the ball, and I couldn’t use my hand for a week. It’s not easy.
The movie talks about expecting success. Do you think that people expect success, but we are not prepared for failure?
Carlos: It depends what you think of success. If success is the material part: You are a good journalist, and become successful, and work for the New York Times, and become a millionaire, well the characters are losers. But if success is more about the human side, in this case, about learning that there is nothing as endearing as having a sibling, then you’re a winner. So it really depends on how you focus on success. To me, success is not to have three million people watching my movie in Mexico City, but the fact that I actually shot my movie. Then I was successful, the rest is the movie.
How would you guys define success?
Gael: Yeah, like that as being happy.
Diego: Being happy, being able to love and be loved. You know; be next to those you want to be next to. Being able to chose where you want to be and having the freedom of choosing whom you want to be, and with whom you want to be surrounded by. I think that is success.
Gael: That’s corny. But it’s true. These characters had all the elements to be happy, and it is interesting that everyone thinks ‘when they were successful,’ but it’s rather when they were famous, not successful. Fame doesn’t equal success. It’s amazing when you get known for the things you like doing. And recognized for the things you like to do. But the fact that you are doing them is what’s successful.
Carlos, you really conveyed the good, the bad, and the ugly of the brother we love in this film. Do you think that the fact that you wrote this with your brother Alfonso, aided you in conveying that emotion in the film?
Carlos: Alfonso helped me a lot in the process as a brother and a producer, and the way we worked together. We share scripts. He shares scripts with me, and I give him notes— The same with Alexandro and Guillermo. And it was great that it was the three of them producing, not only Alfonso; obviously Alfonso is the closest to me because he’s my blood brother and also we’ve been partners for a long time. But it was a privilege to have the three of them trusting me; financing, and just giving me freedom. They are demanding, but I really appreciate that I could do what I wanted to do at the end of the day, and to receive that great feedback that comes from great filmmakers.
You don’t think they held anything back, or where harder on you because of your close relationship?
Carlos: No! No way, they didn’t hold back. They would never do that. If you know the three of them, they never hold back.
Diego: But also, you are honest in your relations with those that you care about the most, and those that you love the most, and those you know the most; with those are the ones that you are really honest. Honesty should be the base of every relation and if you are going to produce a film with someone, he better know what you think about what he is doing. At the end there is always this respect for the filmmaker, and whoever is the director is going to have the last decision, but that doesn’t mean you are not going to say what you think.
[Gael and Carlos begin to tease Diego. Diego mentions that there was a kiss scene initially written into the film and tells Gael tells Carlos that there is still a lot he has to explain to him.]
Do you think kissing Sean Penn helped him get an Oscar?
Diego: As I said, I don’t work for awards. It’s not about that, I’m sure it has helped him in many other things, but not the award giving thing, maybe the way he accepted the award.
What would each of you like the audience to take away from this film?
Gael: First of all, I want everyone to have a good time watching this movie, and then it’s open for interpretation because there are many sides to it. Some people have even said that this is a great movie for audiences in the United States to watch because there is a really nice genesis that happens with the relationship between the United States and Latin America with bananas. The Imperialist Movement of the United States into Latin America was with bananas by controlling the banana plantations. That was a nice interpretation, but we weren’t trying to do that.
Carlos: It’s really an entertaining movie. As Guillermo del Toro says, “it’s a wolf eating under sheep skin” because he has a very gentle tone. You’re laughing and having a good time and suddenly you begin to feel those fangs approaching like halfway through, and at the end the wolf is devouring already. And I think it is really entertaining and they could have a lot of fun, and like Gael says, it has different layers, so you can choose what to read and what to understand. The movie is there, but I don’t want people to think the way I do, just to see it.
Diego: Yeah, to see it, and it would be fun if this gets seen by many young people, not just in the states, so that they can reflect on the idea of success and fame. There is this thing today that it is a necessity to be famous, and there is this culture about becoming someone fast, and reality TV does it a lot where they teach you how to be a singer, or a dancer, or the best cooker, the best blah blah blah, in a second. And life shouldn’t be about that, it shouldn’t be about getting there faster; life should be about reflecting, and thinking, and going step by step.
To see Diego and Gael really battle it out, see the film, it opens in limited theaters this Friday, May 8th, 2009.
Check out the trailer below…