Diego Luna and Gael García Bernal in Rudo y Cursi
Y Tu Mama Tambien co-stars Diego Luna and Gael García Bernal return to the big screen in the much anticipated comedy-drama Rudo y Cursi. The film, which has quickly become the poster child for the new wave of Mexican cinema, is already one of the top three all-time grossers in Mexico.
Making his directorial debut, Carlos Cuaron brilliantly gives life to Beto (Luna) and Tato (Bernal) Verdusco, a pair of fruit-picking Mexican step-brothers, whose soccer skills lead them to fame. Discovered by Baton (Guillermo Francella), a pretentious and greedy sports agent, Beto and Tato set off on twin careers. Beto, disciplined and focused on the game, is quickly given the nickname Rudo ("tough") because of his personality and football style. While Beto aspires to be the best goalkeeper, Tato focuses on using his soccer stardom to pursue a singing career, which begets his nickname Cursi ("corny").
At the peak of their glory, the brothers soon face an innate rivalry as well as their own demons and limitations. While Beto struggles with a gambling addiction and Tato purses a false idea of celebrity and status they both seem to allow their dreams to slip through their fingers.
We sat down with childhood friends Luna and Bernal and director Cuaron to discuss their takes on success, soccer and happiness.
Q: Why do you think soccer, or futbol, is so popular everywhere except for the United States?
Cuaron: There was a League in the '70s with Pele, and the problem was that there were no commercial breaks and TV just wouldn't pay for that because they need sponsors. They started to put commercials in the middle [of the game], which is just obscene. You don't [watch] a futbol game like that. And, it was not successful, so it was difficult for it to take roots here. Now, it's sort of starting to take roots with the MLS (Major League Soccer) and with the fact that American girls are really good at playing futbol.
Q: Are either of you good at playing soccer? Who is the better player?
Luna: There is no way to answer that.
Bernal: The least worst is me.
Luna: That's what he thinks, but no.
Bernal: I was the one cast as the futbol player. He was the goalkeeper. That just goes to show. Are you going to say you were miscast?
Luna: I'm the taller one, so I needed to be a goalkeeper.
Q: The movie talks about expecting success. Do you think we expect success, but are not prepared for failure?
Cuaron: It depends what you think of success. If success is the material part of life, then 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. 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.
Luna: Being happy, being able to love and be loved, being 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 whom you want to be surrounded by. I think that is success.
Bernal: That's corny, but it's the truth. These characters had all the elements to be happy, and it is interesting that everyone thinks that they were successful, but 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 able to do them is what's successful.
Q: In the film, there is a time when the brothers are like enemies. In real life, being friends for so many years, was there ever a time that you had a fight?
Luna: That is something we went through when we were really young [12 or 13 years old].
Bernal: Those fights happened in Monopoly and things like that. I said, "Don’t blame the player, blame the game. Don’t hate the player, hate the game." [Laughs].
Q: Do you guys remember the very first day you met each other?
Bernal: No. We were babies.
Luna: My father told me that they came to visit us at the hospital, but my father is 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 fantasy, Gael came to visit me with his parents.
Q: What would each of you like the audience to take away from this film?
Bernal: First of all, I would like everyone to have a good time watching this movie. 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.
Cuaron: It's really an entertaining movie. As Guillermo del Toro says, "It's a wolf eating under a sheep skin" because it has a very gentle tone. You're laughing and having a good time and, suddenly, you begin to feel those fangs approaching, halfway through, and then, at the end, the wolf is devouring already. It has that bittersweet effect, at the end. It has different layers, so you can choose what to read and what to understand.
Luna: I would say that it would be fun if this film gets seen by many young people, not just in the States, so that they can reflect a little bit on the idea of success and fame. [In today's society] there is this necessity to be famous, and [a] culture about becoming someone fast, and reality TV does it a lot. They teach you how to be a singer, a dancer or the best cook, or whatever, in a second, and life shouldn't be about that. Life shouldn't be about getting there fast. Life should be about reflecting and thinking, and going step-by-step. I would like young people to see this and reflect on what they think about success, when they see what happens to these characters.
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