Gael García Bernal

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This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is García and the second or maternal family name is Bernal.
Gael García Bernal
Born (1978-11-30) November 30, 1978 (age 36)
Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico
Occupation Actor, director
Years active 1989–present
Partner(s) Dolores Fonzi (2009–2014)
Children 2

Gael García Bernal (Spanish pronunciation: [ɡaˈel ɣarˈsi.a βerˈnal]; born November 30, 1978) is a Mexican film actor, director, and producer. He founded Canana Films in Mexico City.

Early life[edit]

Gael García Bernal was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, the son of Patricia Bernal, an actress and former model, and José Ángel García, an actor and director.[1] His stepfather is Sergio Yazbek, whom his mother married when García Bernal was young.[2] He started acting at just a year old and spent most of his teen years starring in telenovelas. Garcia studied the International Baccalaureate, with chemistry being his favorite subject.[citation needed] When he was fourteen, he taught indigenous peoples in Mexico to read, often working with the Huichol Indians.[3] In his later teens, he took part in peaceful demonstrations during the Chiapas uprising of 1994.[4]


García Bernal was becoming a soap opera heartthrob. At age 19, he left Mexico's television world to study acting at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London, the first person from Mexico to be accepted into the program. Briefly before this, he had begun to study philosophy at UNAM, Mexico's national university, before a strike closed the college and he left for London. Describing his time in London as 'life forming', he considered acting simply an 'odd job profession' until the Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu offered him a part in Amores Perros. His debut as a working-class dreamer in the Oscar-nominated Amores Perros was what first grabbed Hollywood's attention.

Subsequently, García Bernal starred in some of Mexico's most celebrated recent films, including 2001's Y tu mamá también, and El crimen del Padre Amaro (2002). He has also done some theatre work, including a 2005 production of Bodas de Sangre, by Federico García Lorca, in the Almeida Theatre in London.

García Bernal also portrayed Argentine revolutionary Che Guevara twice, first in the 2002 TV miniseries Fidel and then, better known, in The Motorcycle Diaries (2004), an adaptation of a journal the 23-year-old Guevara wrote about his travels across South America. García Bernal has worked for acclaimed directors including Pedro Almodóvar, Walter Salles, Alfonso Cuarón, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Michel Gondry, and Iciar Baillin, among others. He has taken on roles in English-language films, including the Gondry-directed The Science of Sleep, the Alejandro González Iñárritu's Babel, and The King, for which he earned rave reviews.[5] He was nominated for a BAFTA in 2005 for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for The Motorcycle Diaries and, in 2006, was nominated for the Orange Rising Star award, which acknowledges new talents in the acting industry.

In 2007 he was also a member of the jury of the 57th Berlin International Film Festival.

García Bernal directed his first feature film, Déficit (2007).[6][7]

Pursuing musical interests, García Bernal is also featured on the 2007 Devendra Banhart album Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon, contributing vocals on the first track entitled "Cristobal."

Bernal was cast for the 2008 film Blindness, an adaptation of the 1995 novel of the same name by José Saramago, winner of the Nobel Prize, about a society suffering an epidemic of blindness. As in the novel, the characters have only descriptions, no names or histories; while director Fernando Meirelles said some actors were intimidated by the concept of playing such characters, "With Gael, he said, 'I never think about the past. I just think what my character wants.'"[8] García Bernal starred in Rudo y Cursi with Diego Luna, directed by Carlos Cuarón.

García Bernal and Diego Luna own Canana Productions. The company recently joined with Golden Phoenix Productions to produce a number of television documentaries about the unsolved murders of more than 300 women in the border city of Ciudad Juarez.

In May 2010, García Bernal did a cameo appearance as himself, playing Cristiano Ronaldo in Ronaldo: The Movie for the Nike advertisement, "Write The Future".

In 2010, he co-directed with Marc Siver four short films in collaboration with Amnesty International. This tetralogy is called "Los Invisibles" about migrants from Central America in Mexico, their journey and risks, their hopes, and what they can contribute to Mexico, the US and the world. He directed the movies, did the interviews and also narrates the four short movies.[9]

He starred in Even the Rain (2010), the official Spanish entry for the Academy Awards; it made the nine-film shortlist and received high praise from critics.

García Bernal narrated Human Planet for Hispanic audiences, which premiered on Discovery en Español on April 25, 2011 and aired on Discovery Channel in Latin America on May 12.[10] For the third time García Bernal appeared with Diego Luna in the American Spanish-language comedy film Casa de Mi Padre, opposite Will Ferrell, where he played a feared drug lord.[11] García Bernal's next projects include a film adaptation of José Agustín's Ciudades Desiertas and the Jon Stewart directorial biopic Rosewater.[12] He starred in the 20th Century Fox reboot Zorro film called Zorro Reborn. The script is by Glen Gers, Lee Shipman, and Brian McGeevy.[13]

In April 2014, he was announced as a member of the main competition jury at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.[14]

In June 2014, he began production as the star of the dramatic comedy "Zoom," directed by Pedro Morelli.

Personal life[edit]

García Bernal in 2005
García Bernal in 2005

García Bernal speaks fluent Spanish, English, Portuguese and French. He is also able to speak Italian.

Gael García Bernal was with his partner, Argentine actress Dolores Fonzi, from 2008 to 2014. They met on the set of "Vidas privadas" in 2001. They never married, contrary to media reports according to an interview given by Gael Garcia Bernal in Elle magazine.[15] On Thursday January 8, 2009, their son Lázaro was born in Madrid, Spain.[16][17] Their daughter Libertad was born on April 4, 2011 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.[18] The couple ended their relationship in September 2014.[19]

Gael García Bernal helped to create the organization and film festival Ambulante A.C.[20] which works to bring documentary films to places where they are rarely shown, and helped to create the Amnesty International Short Documentary Series Los Invisibles.[21] For this work, he was awarded the Washington Office on Latin America's Human Rights Award in 2011.[22]

He has described himself as "culturally Catholic but spiritually Agnostic".[23]


In 2008, Gael García Bernal was honored with the Excellence in Acting Award at the Provincetown International Film Festival. And at the 2012 Abu Dhabi Film Festival, Gael García Bernal won the award for Best Actor.[24]


Year Title Role Notes
1992 El abuelo y yo Daniel Garcia Medina
2000 Queen of Swords Churri TV episode "Honor Thy Father"
2000 Amores perros Octavio Ariel Award for Best Actor
Silver Hugo Award for Best Actor
Premio ACE for Best Actor
2001 Bendito Infierno Davenport Cinema Writers Circle Award for Best Actor
Goya Award for Best Supporting Actor
2001 The Last Post Jose Francisco BAFTA Nomination for Best Short Film [25][26]
2001 Vidas privadas Gustavo 'Gana' Bertolini
2001 Y tu mamá también Julio Zapata Valdivia International Film Festival — Best Actor (shared with Diego Luna)
Venice International Film Festival — Marcello Mastroianni Award (shared with Diego Luna)
Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Most Promising Performer
MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss (shared with Diego Luna)
2001 El ojo en la nuca Pablo Urrutia Honorary Foreign Student Oscar Award
2002 Fidel Ernesto "Che" Guevara
2002 El Crimen del Padre Amaro Padre Amaro Ariel Award for Best Actor
Premio ACE for Best Actor
MTV Movie Award for Favorite Actor
NominatedChicago Film Critics Association Award for Most Promising Performer
Nominated—MTV Movie Award for Sexiest Scene (shared with Ana Claudia Talancón)
2003 Cuba Libre Ricky Released as Cuban Blood in the US
2003 Dot the I Kit Winter
2004 Bad Education Ángel/Juan/Zahara Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival — Jury Award
Glitter Award for Best Actor
Valdivia International Film Festival — Best Actor
Cinema Writers Circle Award for Best Actor
Spanish Actors Union Award for Lead Film Performance
2004 The Motorcycle Diaries Ernesto "Che" Guevara de la Serna Premio ACE for Best Actor
BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Satellite Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture
2005 The King Elvis
2006 Babel Santiago Gotham Award for Best Ensemble Cast
Palm Springs International Film Festival Award — Ensemble Cast Award
San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Performance by an Ensemble
Nominated—ALMA Award for Outstanding Actor - Motion Picture
Nominated—Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Acting Ensemble
Nominated—Imagen Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2006 The Science of Sleep Stéphane French film, written and directed by Michel Gondry
2007 Déficit Cristobal Also Director/Producer
2007 El Pasado Rímini
2008 Blindness King of Ward 3 Vancouver Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Canadian Film
2008 Rudo y Cursi Tatto
2009 Sin Nombre
2009 Mammoth Leo Vidales
2009 The Limits of Control Mexican
2009 8 - 'The Letter' - Producer/Writer/Director Only
2010 Los Invisibles
2010 Letters to Juliet Victor
2010 Even the Rain Sebastián Premio ACE for Best Supporting Actor
Palm Springs International Film Festival Award — Ensemble Cast Award
2010 José and Pilar Himself Doc about José Saramago (Nobel Prize in Literature, 1998)
2011 Miss Bala Producer from Canana Films
2011 A Little Bit of Heaven Julian Goldstein
2011 Casa de Mi Padre Onza
2011 The Loneliest Planet Alex
2012 No René Saavedra
2013 Deserted Cities Eligio
2013 Who is Dayani Cristal? Himself
2014 The Ardor Kaí
2014 Cesar Chavez Cameo Also producer
2014 Rosewater Maziar Bahari
2014 Mozart in the Jungle Rodrigo de Souza (a fictionalized version of conductor Gustavo Dudamel)


  1. ^ "Gael García Bernal: he plays everybody's favorite revolutionary onscreen, but he's not just playacting, Interview". Archived from the original on October 27, 2007. [dead link]
  2. ^ Binoche, Juliette (November 2004). "Gael García Bernal: he plays everybody's favorite revolutionary onscreen, but he's not just playacting". Interview. Archived from the original on October 27, 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-14. 
  3. ^ "Gael García Bernal". Then It Must Be True. July 2004. Retrieved 2007-08-14. 
  4. ^ Calhoun, Dave (2006-04-25). "Gael García Bernal interview". Time Out London. Retrieved 2007-08-14. 
  5. ^ Louie, Rebecca (2006-05-26). "Gael García Bernal breaks barriers and tackles tough issues". New York Daily News. Archived from the original on 2006-06-14. 
  6. ^ Miranda, Carolina A. (2007-03-02). "Q&A with Gael García Bernal". Time. 
  7. ^ Gael García Bernal on Directing. 2007-05-09. Retrieved 2007-08-14. 
  8. ^ "Fall Movie Summer Preview, September: Blindness." Entertainment Weekly, Iss. #1007/1008, August 22/29, 2008, pg.55.
  9. ^ "Watch the Invisibles". Amnesty International. November 8, 2010. 
  10. ^ Benzine, Adam (13 April 2011). "Gael García Bernal to voice Hispanic "Planet"". realscreen. Retrieved 19 April 2011. 
  11. ^ Buchanan, Kyle (14 April 2011). "Will Ferrell’s Spanish-Language Movie: ¿Qué?". New York Magazine. Retrieved 19 April 2011. 
  12. ^ James White (May 22, 2013). "Gael Garcia Bernal Starring In Rosewater". Empire. 
  13. ^ Sneider, Jeff (February 16, 2012). "Garcia Bernal to mark Fox’s ‘Zorro Reborn’". Variety. 
  14. ^ "The Jury of the 67th Festival de Cannes". Cannes. Retrieved 28 April 2014. 
  15. ^ "Gael Garcia Bernal: The Intellectual Woman's Hearththrob". 17 September 2014. Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  16. ^ El País, El actor mexicano Gael García Bernal será padre en diciembre, 5 August 2008, accessed 5th August 2008
  17. ^ Gael García Bernal and Dolores Fonzi Welcome a Son Celebrity Baby Blog, January 9, 2009
  18. ^ "Hija de Gael García nacio en Buenos Aires". 10 April 2011. Retrieved 19 April 2011. 
  19. ^ "Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal confirms split from long-term love Dolores Fonzi... but reveals they NEVER married". Mail Online. 19 September 2014. Retrieved 12 February 2014. 
  20. ^ "Ambulante A.C.". Ambulante A.C. 1 June 2012. Retrieved 1 June 2012. 
  21. ^ "Crossing Mexico: A Journey Of Grave Perils". NPR. 15 September 2012. Retrieved 1 June 2012. 
  22. ^ "WOLA's Human Rights Awards". Washington Office on Latin America. 20 September 2011. Retrieved 1 June 2012. 
  23. ^ Scholz, Pablo O. (2003). "El cine es para viajar y hacer amigos". El Universal (Caracas) (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 3 February 2013. Retrieved 3 February 2013. 
  24. ^ "2012 Awards". Abu Dhabi Film Festival. Retrieved 2012-10-28. 
  25. ^ "BAFTA Awards". 
  26. ^ "The BAFTA Award Nominations". Daily Mail. 

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