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'Casa De Mi Padre' Gael Garcia Bernal Talks Telenovelas

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Gael Garcia Bernal stars in
Gael Garcia Bernal stars in "Casa de mi Padre" with Will Ferrell

On the surface, "Casa de Mi Padre" may look like a Latin telenovela, but that's not the case at all. The film, presented entirely in Spanish, is actually a satire, poking fun at those often-cheesy soap operas.

In the film, Gael Garcia Bernal plays a mighty and mystical drug lord who battles two brothers, Armando (played by Will Ferrell) and Raul Alvarez (played by Diego Luna), in a bloody drug war. Though Ferrell's attempt to tackle Spanish might sound like a source of comic relief, Bernal notes that Ferrell's Spanish accent is actually “very good.”

Bernal, 33, talked to The Huffington Post about "Casa de Mi Padre," the dying culture of telenovelas and working with his close friend and co-star, Luna.

Did you get the joke right away that this was a spoof on telenovelas?
Yes and no. I needed a talk with the director and writer to hear more about what they wanted to do. I mean, the script was really funny when I read it to begin with, but it was even funnier after talking with them.

Did you grow up watching telenovelas?
Not so much watching them, but they were very present in everyday culture. It’s strange -- a few years ago, they used to exist quite heavily and have a lot of influence in society. Now they’ve lost their power.

You must have been cracking up the whole time during filming.
Yeah, we had to make efforts to be serious every now and again. And also, to make it work we’d have to be super serious, but we would laugh a lot. It was quite impossible to film sometimes.

In the film, the American cops are corrupt. Do you worry some Americans are going to take offense?
If someone takes it seriously, then they’re just wasting their time. I mean, do you have to put a warning sign underneath that says "satire"? For people who don’t get it they are going to find themselves fighting against fruit flies.

You have business ties with Diego Luna, who plays Raul Alvarez in the film.
We have a film company and we have a documentary film festival called Ambulante that has more of a social purpose. The production company is to make good films. Good films always have a political and social complexity, though it’s not as if all films have to be socially driven. We want to make really good movies and help people make good movies.

You’re also really good friends. I imagine the only argument you have is over who is cuter.
You think so? But there would be no contest! What are you talking about? (Laughs)

"Casa de Mi Padre" hits theaters March 16.

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