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Diego Luna interview on Huff Post Live

August 7, 2013

Huff Post Live studio

I’ve been blogging for the Huffington Post UK for about two years now and on Tuesday I had the honour of being invited to appear on Huff Post Live to ask Mexican actor Diego Luna a couple of questions.

As the name implies, Huff Post Live is a live TV-network-style online stream run by the Huffington Post. Diego Luna is – along with his best mate Gael Garcia Bernal – the best known Mexican actor of his generation and a bona fide Hollywood star.

Luna made his breakthrough alongside Garcia in the brilliant Mexican road movie Y Tu Mama Tambien in 2001 and the pair both appeared in professional football (soccer) satire Rudo Y Cursi in 2008. He also starred in the Oscar-winning Milk and last year’s Will Ferrell comedy Casa de Mi Padre.

Luna was appearing on Huff Post Live to promote his latest film, the sci-fi drama Elysium, which also stars Matt Damon and Jody Foster and was directed by Neill Blomkamp, the man behind 2009’s fantastic alien apartheid movie District 9.

The interview was conducted in the Huff Post Live studio with myself and one other guest appearing through a Google+ hangout.

Of course, this being my first time live on air, I had an absolute nightmare. First, as we were setting up, the video on my webcam refused to work; then the audio went dead and I had to restart my computer as the minutes ticked painfully away…

We finally got it all working during the opening minutes of the show, but then, just as I was being introduced and reading out my first question – i.e. the most inopportune moment possible – the phone in my house started ringing right behind me and could clearly be heard in the studio. Very professional eh?

DiegoLuna HuffPostLive

I’d prepared a few questions – some more closely related to Elysium – but Luna ended up covering those earlier in the interview, so I decided to opt for a couple of more political questions.

You can watch the entire interview here, but here’s the transcript of my questions and Luna’s thoughtful responses:

Me: Greetings from Mexico, Diego. You were talking earlier about the 1 and the 99 percent and I believe parts of your new movie Elysium were shot in contrasting poor and rich areas of Mexico City. So my question is: do you consider wealth inequality to be one of the biggest problems facing Mexico today?

DL: Definitely, but in the world – not just in Mexico. I think it’s a contradiction; we live in a country that gives so little chances to so many, but at the same time we have the richest man on the planet (Carlos Slim), so there is definitely a contradiction there. They ask me, ‘How long until we have Elysiums around the world?’ and I’m like ‘We already have them.’ In Mexico we have a place called Santa Fe which is a little place where we build these amazing buildings, there’s so much money there and the view from every window is of poverty. Just in front of it there’s people living with nothing, one on top of the other, and that’s ridiculous.

The whole idea behind the film is that one day those people are going to have to build a Santa Fe in the sky because otherwise someone is going to get to their apartments and want to sleep in the same bed. It makes no sense. So definitely it’s one of the biggest issues and that brings others like impunity and corruption. It’s definitely an issue that we have – not just in Mexico – but in Latin America and that’s a little bit what the film is about.

Me: Do you feel that Mexico has taken a step backwards by voting the Institutional Revolutionary Party back into power just 12 years after ending seven decades of one-party-rule?

DL: Okay Duncan, I think Mexico is a different place today, so we can’t think like that. What is the PRI today? What is the PAN? What is the PRD? It’s complicated; it’s not that we’re going back exactly to where we were. The country experienced something new in the last 15 years.

I think I’m part of a generation that suddenly realized that change could come and that we should all participate. I have the feeling that we’re kind of like a teenager country – we’re still finding out who we are – but at least we’re not a kid anymore and that brings me hope. I’m not saying if it’s good or bad where we are today; but it’s not the same (as it was). It can’t be.

I’m different; this interview is very different! I’m in Los Angeles trying to promote Elypsium and you’re asking me about the city I just left yesterday in an airplane. That couldn’t happen 20 years ago so I believe we live in a different time and it’s in our hands. So that feeling of power to bring change is something I didn’t have 20 years ago.

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