Gael Garcia Bernal does Cha Cha Cha at Sundance

PARK CITY, Utah (Reuters) - Actor Gael Garcia Bernal’s new film “Rudo y Cursi” is Mexico’s fifth top grossing local film ever and is now set for U.S. release in the coming months after being snapped up at the Sundance Film Festival.

It is the first production from Cha Cha Cha -- a company formed by Mexican directors Guillermo del Toro, Alfonso Cuaron and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. Now Cuaron’s brother, Carlos, joins the trio as a director, debuting with “Rudo y Cursi” which roughly translates into “Tough and Corny.”

The Spanish language film, also written by Carlos Cuaron, tells the tale of two talented soccer playing brothers, portrayed by Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna, who are plucked from their small village to play for Mexico’s top teams.

It reunites Garcia Bernal, 30, and Luna, 29, on-screen for the first time since 2001’s “Y tu mama tambien,” which was written by the Cuaron brothers, directed by Alfonso Cuaron and nominated for an Academy Award. That film also thrust a new generation of Mexican talent into the global spotlight.

“It’s a project that’s been done with friends,” Garcia Bernal told Reuters at Sundance about his renewed collaboration with Luna and the Cha Cha Cha team.

“We know each other pretty well, so we can say things straight forward without blushing or feeling hurt. Also we are very rigorous in our work,” he added.

He said “Rudo y Cursi” -- which has been playing in Mexican theaters for about a month and will be released in North America by Sony Pictures Classics -- proved to be a rare challenge for him because it had such complex characters.

Actor Gael Garcia Bernal of the movie "Rudo y Cursi," premiering at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, poses for a portrait in Park City, Utah January 17, 2009. REUTERS/Ramin Rahimian

“What I can draw from it, because every person can draw a different thing from it, is that it is a story about the fragility of success and how dangerous and how responsible one has to be with success,” he said.


The Cha Cha Cha founders were the talk of the 2007 Academy Awards. Inarritu’s “Babel” was nominated for seven Oscars, winning for best original score. Del Toro’s “Pan’s Labyrinth” won three Academy Awards and was nominated for three others, and Cuaron’s “Children of Men” received three nominations.

Garcia Bernal credits them with mentoring him and Luna.

The two actors, whose parents worked in the entertainment industry, also have a production company that premiered one of the most anticipated movies, “Sin Nombre,” this year at Sundance, the top U.S. festival for independent movies.

“We have known each other since we were babies,” he said of Luna. “It was a natural transition for both of us to become actors and we have a lot of fun doing it and I have got to say it’s the only thing we are not competitive at.”

But on the soccer field it’s a different story, with Garcia Bernal declaring: “I am much better than him.”

Garcia Bernal’s success has won him fans worldwide. Yet, the actor -- who became a father for the first time earlier this month with the birth of a son -- has no plans to make the move to Hollywood.

“If I was naturally an English speaker then the Hollywood thing would come much more easily,” Garcia Bernal said. “In a sense it’s another option ... the same as if I was working on films in Argentina, or Spain or France or England, it’s just another option.”

“Right now I do what I like and I enjoy doing what I like,” he added.

Editing by Bob Tourtellotte