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Smoother than premium tequila; los Mexicanos fabulosos, stars Gael García Bernal, Diego Luna, and director Carlos Cuarón chatted with us about Rudo y Cursi, their latest film about two brothers locked in sibling rivalry on and off the football field.  Along the way they chatted about their friendship, creating an unexpected wedding dance sensation and the magic of Cheap Trick.

Dig it!


Rudo Y Cursi

Director Carlos Cuarón


The Lady Miz Diva:  Where did the story for Rudo y Cursi come from?

Carlos Cuarón:  I originally wanted to make a fake documentary about a soccer player that came from a humble background who made it big, and when he was at the peak of his success, he mysteriously disappeared.  So, I had told this idea to Diego {Luna} and Gael {García Bernal} separately and they both said, “I want to be that guy.” So, it was great, a beautiful ego rub for me because I had two actors, but I only had one character and I realised at that point that I wanted to work with both, so I made up a brother.  I told them that it was going to be a sibling rivalry story.  I told Gael that I wanted him to play Cursi and Diego to play Rudo, and their first reaction was, “no.”  They wanted play the other guy.  I told them that I didn’t want to repeat myself, that I didn’t want to make Y Tu Mama Tambien 2, that I wanted to cast them against their type.  They got it immediately and they started to throw ideas, they are very proactive.


LMD:   I need to understand the music video.

CC:  Yeah, you need translation? {Laughs}


LMD:  Where did the idea for the cheesy video come from and did it have to be that song {I Want You to Want Me by Cheap Trick}?

CC:  Well, I knew that I needed a hit song for the character.  My brother {director Alfonso Cuarón} as a producer felt that we needed to create our own song and I was always repeating that I needed a rock or pop hit from the past that I could cover and make it a Norteño song.  He thought I was crazy.  I was flirting with the idea of different songs; one of them was Lips Like Sugar by Echo and the Bunnymen, and Urgent by Foreigner, and the thing all these songs share is pretty stupid lyrics.  And then one day I was driving my kids to school and playing a CD and Cheap Trick’s I Want You to Want Me - Live at Budokan version just started playing and I started singing along with Robin Zander, but to my surprise and to my kids’ surprise, I started to sing it in Spanish.  And after the first time I said, “This is it, I nailed it.”  My kids were like, “Why dad?  What are you talking about?”  This song, someone who sings I Want You to Want Me has some affection and attention problems and that is Cursi. That was the character. I worked that with Gael, I told him that song defines the character. 


LMD:  Did Gael push against singing that song?

CC:  No, he liked it.  He also thought I was crazy.  He didn’t know that song because he was born that year.  And then the video I spent a whole year watching this TV channel in Mexico called Bandamax.  Bandamax is the Norteño original music MTV in Mexico. Instead of trying to copy one of the videos, I sort of took the elements from the kind of videos they make.  So, they always have a kitschy style.  For some reason the backgrounds are always countrysides and of horses.  Why?  I don’t get it.  It is like that. Sometimes there’s green screen, sometimes there is choreography and beautiful women around, and the kind of suit that Gael is wearing is the kind of suit that they would wear, I just overdid it a little bit in terms of the colours, the kind of blue and the kind of pink I chose.  And we had a lot of fun shooting it; it was the first thing we did.  We shot it in MiniDV because I wanted a shitty quality and it became a success.  At some point, when we start to choreograph the thing, the choreographer asked me what I wanted from her, and I said, “Just illustrate the song and I want your choreography to be danced in the future in weddings.”  She was like, “What?”  And I said, “Yes, something that is danceable. I have two left feet; so if I can dance it, if I can do your choreography, then it will happen in weddings.” And that’s what’s happening right now in Mexico.


LMD:  Can you talk about working with Gael and Diego?  We hear about how close they are as friends, was that helpful to you as a director?

CC:  Absolutely.  The thing is that very strange chemistry that is between the two of them, that complicity is something that you cannot get with years of rehearsal.  It’s just something that they have together.  It’s great because they have these dynamics that help create the brotherly dynamic.  It’s not that they behave like Rudo y Cursi – sometimes they do, I mean they’re pretty silly when they’re together, and so it helps a lot that they know each other.  It helped a lot that we know each other so well, because we know our strengths and our weaknesses and we know how to read our moods, which is very important on a set.  We know that if that guy is in a bad mood you have to approach him some way.

The thing is that they are both very respectful and besides the fact that we are friends, that they knew that I was the director and we had to fulfill my vision, and we shared that vision, we agreed on that.  I mean, yeah, at some points, you know, exactly like what happens with brothers, we would have an argument or a discussion and at the end it would be, “Okay, I’m shooting it my way,” “Okay, no problem.”  No feelings hurt or anything and we could say things just like that on our faces and not get offended because that’s what you do if you’re siblings.



Gael García Bernal & Diego Luna


The Lady Miz Diva:  What was it like to work together again?

Gael García Bernal:  It was very nice to work together again as actors, because before the film, we had been putting up a production company called Canana.  We’d been helping films get made, and also we have a documentary film festival in Mexico that’s actually pretty nice, I invite you to see and check out the webpage.  It’s very original, it’s called Ambulante, it travels around several cities in Mexico.  We’ve been ping-ponging projects; for example, when Diego’s gonna be in a film or I’m gonna be in a film, we talk about that.

Diego Luna:  It was nice to be actors again, just actors.  I remember the first week we were in the coast; we decided to be there for a week before we started shooting so we could rehearse the accent, we could see the places we were going to shoot.  We could meet all the family and do a lot of rehearsal.  It was nice just to be thinking about our characters, about the scenes and the relation of the characters and not to think about money or what was going to happen or what was not going to happen.  It’s like when you’re an actor, they protect you from every bad news, as much as they can.  It’s kinda nice just to think about that; just to create, to think about stuff that you’re gonna use.  When we were shooting, it was interesting because we saw Alfonso on the set.  Alfonso this time was the producer, so he was there to fix things and he had two days and he had seen dailies and he said, “Well, this is going wrong, this is going right,” and he was there to fix stuff.  So suddenly, our director was not a director anymore and was that kinda guy saying, “Too much, too many,” and talking to everyone.  Then as actors, you know you’re gonna be there for another two months, and that’s the day you have to change things.  And it was fun to find a relation with Carlos, cos in Y Tu Mama Tambien he was the writer, so in rehearsal, he was sitting with us writing all the new stuff that was coming and he was part of that process, but as soon as the shooting started, Carlos was just back there looking, hearing, talking to Alfonso, and that was it.  This time, Carlos was on our side complaining about the producers and saying terrible stuff about them, and how much pressure they were putting on us.  So, it was fun to be back creating these kind of relations that started in Y Tu Mama Tambien.


LMD:  You guys know each other so well did you even have to work at creating these characters?  Carlos said at the beginning of the project there was a little dust up about who would play which character?

GGB:  That’s a mythology that he wants to believe.  He already convinced himself that that’s a reality.  But actually, yeah, we had to work a lot to get the characters going, just in the sense of building the world of the characters, because you can notice that the characters have a certain accent and a certain physicality.  You can notice that there is a little colour that is very different than from the people from the big city.  And what we wanted to play was to build up, to characterise the characters; give them a strong accent, give them a sense of being from the same family, and for that we rehearsed a lot.  And we rehearsed with most of the actors; most of the members of the family are from the town that we shot.

DL:  Our sister, the twins, and the little boy, Kike.

GGB:  They were from the town and they did a wonderful job. They would come up to rehearse with us and they would say, “Are they gonna talk like that?”

DL:  The little one, Kike, we would say, “Let’s rehearse this scene,” and at the end he would be like, “That accent is not the one we’re gonna do, right?” 

{Gael laughs}

 And so we’re like, “No, we’re preparing, man.  We’re getting ready, we’re getting there.”  “That’s too much from the North,” he would tell me.

GGB:  Yeah.  And so we were taking different aspects for the characters and we rehearsed a lot for that.  Also football, we had to train a little bit.  There’s not much football in the film, but mainly it was not to see the fat that we had accumulated and the beer belly that we had.  We made our best effort to take it out. {Laughs}



~ The Lady Miz Diva

April 21st, 2009




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Exclusive photos by LMD

Film stills courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics



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