He caught the attention of cinephiles and made his way into the front of my school binder around 2001 starring in films like Y Tu Mamá También and Bad Education . And for the next few years Gael Garcia Bernal continued to act in offbeat, evocative films but after 2006, which saw him star in Babel and The Science of Sleep, the green-eyed actor seemed to disappear. Well, get ready to renew your love for Gael Garcia Bernal with Amazon's new series, Mozart in the Jungle .
Loosely based on the memoir of the same name, the series follows Bernal as an unconventional composer whose appointment as head conductor for the New York City orchestra causes a lot of drama. The series also stars Bernadette Peters, Malcom McDowell, and Saffron Burrows. Coupled with the high profile nature of this project and audience's love for TV shows about backstage drama, Mozart in the Jungle will do a lot for Bernal's profile as an actor. But Bernal hasn't been completely absent from our screens since 2006.
Here are some of his lesser known, recent projects — because you can only binge Mozart in the Jungle so many times.
Blindness is the somewhat unsuccessful adaptation of Jose Saramago's disturbing novel of the same name that details a society gone to rot as a blindness epidemic occurs. Bernal is one of the film's villains who takes control of the food supply in the quarantined prison of sorts where all the blind people are being contained from the rest of society. In an interview with the LA Times, Bernal says that his character "[i]n the book, he is really a mean guy, terribly evil from the beginning ... but I thought it was more interesting to have him be not evil but more like a child with a gun."
Letters to Juliet
This 2010 film is for whoever lies at the cross section of enjoying Bernal as an actor and enjoying ridiculous romantic comedies, in general. It has star Amanda Seyfried spouting such romantic gems as: "It's not supposed to be that way, we should want to be together all the time." Honey, that's not romance, that's being co-dependent. Be forewarned, this trailer (like too many modern movie trailers) gives away the whole damn movie.
Casa de Mi Padre
Casa de Mi Padre is the utterly unfunny comedy that borrows the style of telenovelas. Produced and starring Will Ferrell, Case de Mi Padre Bernal co-stars as a Mexican drug lord. And while this film was only released about two years ago, it is thankfully pretty much forgotten at this point.
On the bright side, at least we got some great Gael Garcia Bernal GIFs out of it.
Bernal has fared far better in his most recent film, Rosewater. This adaptation marks the directorial debut of Jon Stewart (yes, that Jon Stewart). In the film, Bernal plays Maziar Behari, an Iranian journalist that was interrogated and tortured for 118 days. Rosewater has received fairly positive reviews and the Hollywood Reporter says that it is "an emotionally accessible but very modest tale of one man's temporary misfortune at the hands of the Iranian government."
With Rosewater and Mozart in the Jungle hopefully we're seeing a resurgence inBernal's career. Despite some missteps over the past few years, he's still a fascinating actor to watch.
Image: Amazon Studios; Focus Features; lifeatucr/Tumblr