Mexican actor and filmmaker Gael Garcia Bernal prides himself on the fact he has shot films all over the world.
Aside from working in his native Mexico, he regularly goes on set in Argentina, Brazil and the US and has also has touched down in Spain, France, Italy, the UK and in Scandinavia.
Speaking at a masterclass as part of Doha Film Institute’s Qumra meeting this week, the actor gave a potted, tongue-in-cheek guide to film sets around the world.
“In Italy they don’t know how to shut up. “When people says “silence”, they go “ok, ok” [said in mock whisper] but nobody stops talking.”
In Spain, it’s impossible to change someone’s position. Someone might say, “The script person isn’t that good and we want to hire another person”. Someone from the grip department will come along and say, “You take her out, we all go.” The film is kidnapped. You’re like “woah this is complicated”.
In Mexico, you get the best crew, best of everything but there is a party – el sapo — every weekend. On Saturday, it’s a half-day shoot and it’s like a syndicate law that you have to throw a party. The film has to bring in tacos and beers.
In the United States, people shout all the time. “Ok guys, 15 minutes to go, 10 minutes to go… “ “Ok, I got it!”
In Sweden, they only work eight hours a day including lunch so shoots go on for about 15 weeks. “Ok, cut…done for the day.” “Done for the day? I just had my my make-up done.”
In Argentina you get people saying “Oh no, here we don’t do things that way.” as if you’re from Scandinavia or something. “I’m like guys I’m from Mexico.”
In Brazil, when the person comes to tell you it’s time to shoot, you have to tell them “ok let’s just shoot it.” Otherwise they start talking about everything. How’s this, how’s that, what’s life like in Mexico City… and you’re like, “Let’s just go to the set.”
In France, what happens in France? In France, hmm, they really know how to do things. I can’t say anything.
In England, the food, the food… They say, “Ok, cut for lunch”, and you say “Oh no”.