Bernal bowls over Berlin talent

Mexican thesp shares secrets of actor's life

BERLIN — Taking a break from Berlinale jury duty, Mexican thesp Gael Garcia Bernal gave a talk at the Talent Campus on “Crossing Borders.”

The packed event was moderated by former Variety journalist Peter Cowie, who interviewed Bernal about his acting career, focusing on “Amores Perros” (Gael: “The dogs were treated way better than the humans in that film”), “Motorcycle Diaries” and “Y Tu Mama Tambien.”

Much to the amusement of the smitten audience (which included Natalie Portman), Gael said that the character he played in “Y Tu Mama Tambien” was the one he could relate to most.

And as he’s been crossing many borders in his professional life, having worked with Michel Gondry on “The Science of Sleep” in France, with Pedro Almodovar on “Bad Education” in Spain and all over South America with Walter Salles on “Motorcycle Diaries,” he said that his home was not a place but “a certain human being.”

About his home country Mexico and the current kudos-boom Mexican helmers such as Alfonso Cuaron, Alejandro Inarritu and Guillermo del Toro are currently experiencing, Bernal said that those directors were extremely supportive of one another and that the Mexican film industry was “about to become self-sufficient.”

“But,” he added, “we still need a screen quota for Mexican films and Mexican producers should get the same tax benefits as foreign producers.”

Bernal has joined the ranks of producers himself, having set up a production outfit called Canana with “Y Tu Mama Tambien” pal Diego Luna.

Although the Talent Campus audience was more interested in Bernal’s sensibilities and experiences as an actor, Bernal did mention that the company currently has four pics in the pipeline: His own directorial debut, Spanish-language drama “Deficit,” Luna’s docu “Chavez” about the Mexican boxer Julia Cesar Chavez, Gerardo Naranjo’s “Drama/Mex” to be released in Mexico in March, and family pic “Cochochi,” to be helmed by Israel Cardenas and Laura Guzman.