Golden Globe-winner Gael Garcia Bernal talks to Awards Daily TV and highlights Season 3 of Amazon’s Mozart In The Jungle.
Gael Garcia Bernal won a Golden Globe last year for his performance in Amazon’s Mozart in the Jungle. His Rodrigo De Souza is wild eccentric and is the conductor for the New York Symphony Orchestra. Each season, the show takes Rodrigo to a new location and a new adventure, and the uniquely funny and charming comedy keeps viewers entertained with every episode.
The show’s fourth season will debut later this year. Awards Daily TV had the chance to catch up with Bernal to talk about directing his first episode and the possibility of exploring the operatic world.
Let’s go all the way back, what was it about the show that grabbed you?
The script was strange. It wasn’t that long ago as it was just five or six ago. The idea of a short series streaming on Amazon which back then was foreign and unknown. So, the whole concept seemed like an adventure. The whole notion of classical music really inspired a sense of adventure too. I liked that we would have creative freedom, and it seemed like it would appeal to the modern TV audience. I liked the idea that it had not been done before. It was risky and I loved the idea of Rodrigo. It’s been so much fun.
Amazon and streaming have changed since we started our first season.
Each season has had so many great moments. But to finally see Hayley and Rodrigo have sex was wonderful because we’d been waiting for for so long.
They share that moment. By being loyal to and trusting the complexities of the human conditions needs no explanation. I was glad to see it happen and where it leads, who knows? Maybe to something pure like love? It is love, but it might not be manifested in that emotional way.
Another great highlight of a past season was seeing Rodrigo conducting at the Hollywood Bowl. How did that happen?
It was a natural progression, right? Gustavo Dudamel is someone I’ve spoken to often. The writers came up with the idea during the Mozart season and suggested he come on the show. Dudamel suggested we do the overture to “Figaro’s Wedding.” It sounded like so much fun and a great challenge. I had never been so nervous. I was playing with the L.A. Philharmonic Orchestra and conducting them.
Had we given it a second thought and been scared about it, it never would have happened. We were terrified because we’re pretending to do a job that people have been doing this since they were children and are professional. With all humbleness, we had a shot of tequila and did it with the amazing support of Dudamel. I got up there and played Rodrigo. If it were me on that stage I couldn’t do anything, but Rodrigo can do anything.
It’s wonderful to have a character who has that level of impunity. He’s also one of the most respected conductors in the world, so why not go for it.
It was truly a memorable moment.
You’ve gone from Venice to New York to Mexico with the show. What were some of your favorite locations?
Mmm. There were so many. Shooting in New York was great. There were some places you wouldn’t think of going. It was incredible shooting in Mexico City Palacio de Bellas Artes, it was magical. The story behind it and the people who have played on that stage is amazing. You can feel that history. It was so emotional and it was such a privilege to play on that stage.
We also shot in this little town outside Mexico City and to shoot in those towns was magical.
Scuola Grande di San Rocco was a fantastic shoot. It has more paintings than the Sistine Chapel. We also shot at the Conservatory of Music which is a building that not many people visit when they go to Venice. It was incredible and to be in that building from the 1600’s was beyond amazing.
I have to tell you about the opera house, another incredible shoot. If we’re going to do opera, that’s where La Boheme came from. So, that was fantastic to be there.
I really can’t wait to see where we shoot in Season 4. The locations have been amazing. I just know it’s going to be a surprise. It’s really a pleasure to do this show. It transmits this joy that we have for music and the poetry of music.
Each piece we listen to we have a personal interpretation of it, so to be able to share that and to do a series about it is really glorifying. It gives us a new perspective on art.
The show reinforces your appreciation for arts and classical arts. How is the new season going to fare under this administration who doesn’t care to protect the arts?
Modern Classical music has been struggling all over the world in finding its relevance and how to find a new audience. The experience of listening to the music live undoubtedly can not be matched at all. It just can not. That’s why it still exists.
If you watch a film on the big screen, it’s a live experience. You’re doing it collectively in a sense and the world around you is alive and you are in the moment.
Whether this or that president denies the presence of art in society with funding, let’s remember it’s a symptom of something that’s been going on for a long time. The U.S.A. is not the best example of a country that really fully supports the arts because everything is privatized. Art lives off charities rather than the state providing for it. It’s an interesting thing to compare to say France and Mexico that has a state need for funding of the arts.
It doesn’t matter who the president is. It is accepted and there definitely needs to be more funding provided to the arts.
You directed an episode this season. You’ve done shorts in the past, talk about that experience.
It was incredible to direct. There’s something about directing and acting at the same time. We have directors such as Jacques Tati, Woody Allen, and Jerry Lewis. They were also actors, and they were established.
It sounds strange but there is something beautiful about acting and not having any idea about directing. It’s a way of being alive. Imagine being a guitarist. You’re doing a live solo, but you’re not riffing. You sound great and you sound incredible, but you have this score so you’re working that. Sometimes, you just need to be like Hendrix to be completely in that moment and let yourself go with whatever that moment is. So, that’s what I did. I acted, and I directed.
I loved working with the actors and directing them. We got along really well, and it was fun to be able to tell them things I couldn’t do before. I gave them notes and they were really receptive.
Later on this year, we’re going to see you in Disney/Pixar’s Coco where you’re the voice of Hector.
That was a long process. There are so many things that go on in the field of animation and this army working on it. It really comes from the directors and the producers who are setting the tone. We do a small part of the whole process. I’m really happy.
It’s a dream come true. There have been a few times in my life when I’ve said I’ve wanted to do something like that. In this case, I must say watching films with my kids and loving them, I thought I wanted to do an animated voice.
I’m looking forward to Mozart‘s Season 4.
Mozart in the Jungle streams on Amazon Prime.