Gael Garcia Bernal Learned Portuguese in Bed and Other Highlights From ‘The Year in Gael’

Lead Photo: Actor Gael Garcia Bernal attends "Rosewater" New York Premiere at AMC Lincoln Square Theater on November 12, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Desiree Navarro/WireImage)
Actor Gael Garcia Bernal attends "Rosewater" New York Premiere at AMC Lincoln Square Theater on November 12, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Desiree Navarro/WireImage)
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2014 was a banner year for Gael Garcia Bernal: he solidified his cross-over status (if such a bridge still exists) with lead roles in multiple memoir-based works. He stars as genial journalist Maziar Bahari in Jon Stewart’s directorial debut, Rosewater, and roguish conductor Rodrigo in Amazon’s latest original series, Mozart in the Jungle. The film and series have been well-received so far, but Gael’s stumping for them might be more entertaining than the two combined. Here’s our “highlight reel” for the Year in Gael.

Gael's First US Series 'Mozart in the Jungle' Pilot

Back in February, the Mozart in the Jungle pilot was released and up for “election” as one of Amazon’s new web series. Then in May, the show was greenlit for a full season, and we learned that Gael would appear at the Cannes Film Festival to promote his new film, El Ardor. This inspired our own Daniela Cabrera to coin the portmanteau “Gaelindura” for all our Gael-coverage needs.

'Y tu mama también' Criterion Collection DVD

Later that month, Criterion Collection made our year by announcing the release of ”Y tu mama también: Cine Nerds Edition”. The bromántico film has been made available in dual format with enough DVD extras to satisfy even the most devout Gael and Diego fanáticos.

'El Ardor' Premieres at the Cannes Film Festival

And our boy wasn’t done. He pulled double duty at Cannes, promoting his film El Ardor and also sitting as a judge. As the tenth Mexican actor to be included on the Palm d’Or panel, Gael was cited as one of the most influential participants at the fest.

Gael Hates on KLM Airlines' World Cup Tweet

The summer saw tempers flare over what else? fútbol. After Mexico’s loss to the Netherlands in the World Cup, KLM Airlines tweeted a snub at El Tri, and Gael tweeted a “chíngate” message of his own. (We apologize to our Mexican friends if this reopened the wound).

Gael Stars in a Calle 13 Music Video

Gael reminded us he’s more of a lover than a fighter in July with an appearance in Calle 13’s music video for “Ojos Color de Sol”. We defy you not to swoon watching him lock lips with Spanish actress María Valverde.

Gael Wins Hearts in Sarajevo

In August, the Sarajevo Film Festival awarded Gael the Honorary Heart of Sarajevo, and then held an outdoor screening of Gael’s first major film, Amores Perros. In his acceptance speech, Gael said he couldn’t believe it’s been twelve years since his debut, and then charmed everyone some more by thanking the judges in Croatian.

But Breaks Hearts at Home

In September, Gael snagged another “award” when he was named the Intellectual Woman’s Heartthrob by Elle Magazine. In the interview, Gael reveals that he believes in commitment but not necessarily marriage. A few weeks before this interview, it was reported that Gael and Dolores Fonzi, the mother of his two children had divorced. He clarified in the interview with Elle, that they were never actually married. You know what means ladies, GGB is back on the market! Hopefully he’s past the grieving stage by now.

Jimmy Fallon Digs Up Young Gael's Novela Debut

Things were a little quiet in the fall, but Gael returned with a vengeance — OK, just a movie clip — in November with an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. He was there to promote Rosewater, but found himself reminiscing about playing the most put-upon kid in telenovelas when Jimmy shared an unearthed clip from El abuelo y yo.

Gael Brags that English Is His Third Language

A week later, Gael met with another SNL alum: he was interviewed by Seth Meyers on Late Night. He gushed about Jon Stewart, calling him the “nicest and [most] easygoing guy”. And look, Jon is great, but we’re pretty sure that title is actually reserved for Gael himself.

Gael Gets Serious on Charlie Rose

Gael then held his own on Charlie Rose in a group interview about Rosewater with Jon Stewart and Maziar Bahari. Gael acknowledged the unusual circumstances that led to Bahari’s real life “interrogation”, but reminded his cohorts and the host that political unrest is a universal theme.

Gael Explains Mexico and Iran's Love of Hair Gel

Still making the Rosewater promotional rounds in November, Gael appeared on The Daily Show alongside Maziar Bahari once again. John Oliver sat in for Jon Stewart, and he and Bahari effectively counted the ways in which they and we love Gael: that rostro, that accent, and just as importantly, his awareness of the world around him.

Gael Confesses He Learned Portuguese in Bed

The polyglot (he speaks five languages) then headed to The Today Show to make Natalie Morales and her co-hosts blush with multiple double entendres. And we maybe blushed a little too when Gael shared that he learned to speak Portuguese in bed.

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Gael Speaks Out About Injustice in Mexico

While on the Rosewater promo tour, Gael found he could not ignore the tragedy of the missing students in Iguala, Mexico. Though somewhat road-weary, he spoke with Remezcla film editor Vanessa Erazo about his new film and the Ayotzinapa 43, expressing concern at the lack of worldwide coverage and promising to use his voice to amplify those that cannot be heard. He even attended a protest in New York in support of the students.

Gael records a song?

Right after our interview with Gael, a picture showed up on Toy Selectah’s Facebook page of Gael in the recording studio. Is he singing? Is he rapping? Is he sing-talking? We have no idea. What we do know is that he’s going to be part of the massive collaboration album put together by Toy Selectah and M.I.S. called Compass that’s set to drop in 2015. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Gael Wants to be a Mexican Robot

In mid-November, Gael expressed an interest in finally getting to work with Guillermo del Toro. He joked that he planted the idea for a “Mexican hobbit” when Del Toro was being considered to direct the Hobbit franchise, but said he’d settle for appearing in the Pacific Rim sequel as “the robot with the most fun.”

Gael Turns 35 Years Young

Gael turned 35 on November 30, and yes, there was a celebration, and no, we weren’t invited. Seems the guest list was pretty small, aside from the mountains.

'Mozart in the Jungle' Trailer Drops

Finally, in early December, Amazon announced the premiere date and released a trailer for Mozart in the Jungle’s first season. We re-watched the series’ inaugural episode and remained just as delighted with Gael’s rakish turn as a conducting prodigy.