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Garcia Bernal and Larrain Just Say 'No' EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood December 21, 2012 at 12:26PM

Oscar-shortlisted "No," a hit on the festival circuit, comes from Chilean director Pablo Larraín and Mexican producer-star Gael García Bernal, who collaborated on a novel recreation of the 1988 ousting of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet after 15 years of oppression. Sony Pictures Classics acquired all North American rights.

"It's a universal story about humans and politics and television," says Garcia Bernal, "and publicity and democracy." Larrain and Garcia Bernal believe the film is a universal story, and Sony Pictures Classics agrees with them. "This movie is a masterfully engaging and energetic drama about politics and power, a tonic for the brain that is also a major entertainment," says SPC. "'No' establishes Pablo Larrain as a major international director and Gael Garcia Bernal gives his finest performance."

Garcia Bernal has been running his production company Canana with "Y Tu Mama Tambien" co-star Diego Luna for years now; they've made 19 films to date, including Larrain's previous two films and their biggest breakout hit, "Miss Bala." Garcia Bernal is not happy with the choices he has of projects; "it's not like I pick between this amazing one and this amazing one," he says. "I only want to do what I like." Garcia Bernal is starring opposite Robert De Niro in a drama about Bosnian war veterans, "Hands of Stone," and hopes several pictures get financed, especially Martin Scorsese's in-the-works Japanese project "Silence," which Daniel Day Lewis reportedly may want to do as well.

Larraín completes the final film in a trilogy that started with "Post Mortem," about a city morgue clerk, and continued with "Tony Manero," about a Travolta impersonator, which also played the Fortnight, in 2008. Pedro Peirano ("The Maid") wrote the screenplay from an unproduced play, "Referendum," by Antonio Skármeta, who also wrote "The Dancer and the Thief," which was nominated for an Oscar. Michael Radford's "Il Postino" is based on one of his films about poet Pablo Neruda. Larrain's producing partner at his ad, film and TV production company Fabula is his brother Juan de Diós Larraín; they brought in Los Angeles producer Daniel Dreifuss, who approached Participant's Jeff Skoll and Jonathan King for financial backing on the $2 million film.

This article is related to: Gael García Bernal, Cannes Film Festival, Festivals, Cannes, Reviews

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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.