I was first introduced to Spanish actor turned director Gael García Bernal through Bad Education. I had already watched – and subsequently fell in love with – All About My Mother and was inspired to watch Pedro Almodóvar’s other films by my then film teacher Claire Doyle, the first of which ended up being Bad Education. And, as if by magic, my love for Gael was born. He had the talent, the look (boyish charm mixed with rugged handsomeness) and the, erm, body. And, for what it’s worth (quite a lot, ashamedly) he looks amazing in drag.
I went on to discover many of his other films, from The Motorcycle Diaries to Amores Perros and, most recently, No, in which he plays a skateboarding advertising executive determined to bring an end to Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship. None of which, however, quite matched up to the hazy, sensual brilliance of Y Tu Mamá También, the film that arguably – and deservedly – made Gael the sex symbol he is today. It’s not only that he’s lip-quaveringly sexy (his bum is to die for), but he has all the raw talent and forceful energy to put any actor to shame. Also, the Spanish accent isn’t exactly a turn-off.
Next, he’ll be seen as former professional boxer Roberto Duran in Hands Of Strong (he’s reportedly spent hours and hours in preparation, which can only mean firmer muscles). There’s recently been rumours that he’ll soon be appearing as masked hero Zorro in Zorro Reborn, taking over the role from another Almodóvar regular Antonio Banderas. I’m sure I’m not the only one in thinking that Gael will make for a terrific Zorro. But, even if the film turns out to be a flop (likely), then we’ll at least be forever left with the expectedly hot image of Gael as a mysterious and sexy rogue.
And that, my friends, is good enough for me.