Diego Luna's Passion
“Hola. Thank you so much for coming to my country," grins Diego Luna. "Is it treating you nice?”
We’re in Cancun to talk about Elysium, a sci fi action film from director Neill Blomkamp (District 9), that he stars in with Matt Damon and Jodie Foster, about a man's mission to save Earth – now a ruined polarized world where the wealthy live on a man-made space station, high above the rest of the struggling population. But what Diego really wants to talk about is his passion for directing his own movies…
“I have never worked in a science fiction film and it gave me the opportunity to explore and play in a playground that I normally don't play in," he says. “And it was exciting - not just because of that, but also because it gave me the opportunity to connect more in the conceptual and philosophical point of view. But I'm obsessed with directing now. I love it more than anything else and I'm enjoying the journey so much. The the good thing is I never have to stop being an actor, you know. I can act for the rest of my life and many have done that but I started acting when I was 6 and and as an actor you're always a tool for someone else's point of view to get out there. And one day I realized I wanted to say something, and you cannot be an actor and try to say it because then you become a pain in the ass. I always imagined myself directing and I started producing at the beginning as an organic way to get there. I did a documentary film about a Mexican boxer and his relation with politics and then I did my first film and then I did this one. I'm still going to act every time there's a great director like Neill that invites me to an interesting project, but the journey of directing is so intense and so profound and there's so much learning on the process and it's so personal that I wouldn't change it for anything. And I think it's more than Hollywood, it's tied with being a father in a way. I think as soon as I started to think about the idea of fatherhood and what that means, I started to reflect on where I was and what I wanted to change and I realized directing was the right way to kind of follow up on that reflection.”
“So for those who don't know I have been for 3 years working as a director on a film about the life of Cesar Chavez, a story so amazing that I don't know why it hasn't been told. It's quite a heroic story about a simple man, this labor organizer that was part of the Farm Workers Movement in the '60s and '70s that created the first union for farm workers. I think the States needs to see a film like this - with the recent elections we realize, for example, how important the Latino vote is today in that country and to understand the country you need to understand the journey of Mexican-Americans and the farm workers. It’s a film that hopefully will make people start thinking about where the food comes from, you know. What needs to happen for a guacamole to be here or ceviche (laughs) you know, because we tend to eat it and say oh, we're so blessed but behind that there's a lot of work and hard conditions and it's part of the responsibility of being alive and a citizen, you know. When I choose to have something, this something comes from somewhere and I should know what it means for this thing to be here. I believe that that was something that the movement did in the '70s, you know, where they asked America to stop eating table grapes from California and the country reacted and they basically boycotted the biggest industry in California and that's amazing, it tells you about the power that people have in their hands. It's important we realize that and use that in order to change the gear and to change directions because otherwise we'll end up living in Elysium pretty soon – or rather, NOT in Elysium.”
On a more frivolous note, what's with this hair?
He laughs. “This is as long as my hair has been ever but I promised not to cut it until I show Chavez to an audience so I hope it doesn't grow much longer. You know, it's kind of a mixture of like Snoop Dogg meets Frida Kahlo!"
Es escritora, fotógrafa, cineasta y vive en Hollywood con su esposo y su traviesa cachorrita Airedale. Promete estar más activa en Twitter y espera que el guión que escribió con su hermano se convierta en película.Ver más artículos de Vera Anderson