Exploring the meaning of friendship, one frame at a time
Author Andy Isaacson
TULUM, MEXICO—Al is the proprietor of an eco-chic beach resort in Tulum, near the famed Mayan ruins, who teaches sunrise qigong classes and seduces female guests. Two of his best friends, one soon to wed, have traveled here to coax their prayer-beaded pal into attending the ceremony. "When are you going to give up your guru nonsense?" one of them asks Al, then kicks him into the waters of the Caribbean.
"Cut!" yells Diego Luna, and chuckles. Before they resume shooting, the 33-year-old Mexican movie star—who is directing the film in bare feet and a scruffy beard—brainstorms with his actors on how the scene should play out. The discussion veers into thoughts on friendship. "Close friends sometimes don’t need to exchange words," Luna says. "Silence speaks volumes."
For the past seven years, Luna has been at the helm of an indie production company that he co-founded with Mexican actor/global heartthrob Gael García Bernal and producer Pablo Cruz. Luna and Bernal, co-stars in the 2001 sleeper hit Y Tu Mamá También, have been friends since childhood, and the short film they’re making now—commissioned by whiskey company Chivas Regal—has Luna thinking about his old pal.
"I’m very practical, and I can help bring him down to earth," Luna says. "And sometimes I need to be reminded that life is not just the practicality of things."
Tulum, it turns out, has special meaning for Bernal and Luna: As teens, they would come here to work at a sea turtle sanctuary. "They were very important trips in my life," Luna says with a grin. "At that age, you do many things for the first time." With that, he calls for action, and his actors resume their make-believe friendship once again.
To see the finished short film, Drifting, go to the official Facebook page, ChivasCanana.com.