Gael Garcia Bernal Q&A: ‘Mozart in the Jungle’
“You can’t deny the power of what music makes us feel,” declares Gael Garcia Bernal as we chat via webcam (watch the exclusive video above) about how the music on “Mozart in the Jungle” has resonated with audiences. The Golden-Globe winning actor talks at length about the Amazon musical comedy series. “This show is so special because it deals with a very universal theme. There cannot be any prejudices with music, in a sense.”
The show’s third season, which premiered late last year, opened on the gloriously sunlit canals of Venice, Italy. Rodrigo, the “maestro” of the New York Symphony, is there to stage a new opera with “La Fiamma,” a Maria Callas-like opera diva played by acclaimed Italian actress Monica Bellucci (“Malena”), who joined the cast this season for five episodes.
Bernal loved working in Venice, which he calls “one of the most incredible places on Earth. It is beyond description.” The actor also relished working with Bellucci. “She’s incredible,” Bernal admits. “She a totemic remnant of an idealised version of film … she’s very easy to work with and very funny as well.”
The actor agrees that “Mozart in the Jungle” became more light-hearted this season, which meant there were more opportunities for comedy. Rodrigo is in Venice to help stage an opera about the most incongruous and random subject matter imaginable: the “Long Island Lolita” true story of Amy Fisher, who at 17 shot and severely wounded Mary Jo Buttafuoco, the wife of her illicit lover Joey Buttafuoco, a story that made tabloid headlines in 1992. It was played to perfect comical effect as the who’s who of the opera elite in Venice enthusiastically (and farcically) stage a new work about the suburban underbelly of Long Island, NY. It perfectly demonstrated how the show found freedom this season to “jazz it up and sometimes go into this or that direction, which leads us to endless opportunities for comedy and humor,” the actor explains, adding that “we laughed so much.”
Bernal and the show itself won Golden Globes a couple of years ago, which surprised many that evening including the actor himself. “I felt grateful not only for the awards and the joy of sharing it with all of the people that do the show, and happy and proud for everybody, but at the same time for the characters, because they’re going to have another life.