Celebrated Chilean filmmaker Pablo Larrain, whose 2012 film No received an Academy Award nomination, was among a group of select artists who made waves at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival, securing one of the festival’s few big deals—in the eight-figure range—when Fox Searchlight came on to distribute the Natalie Portman-starring Jackie. Larrain debuted that film in Venice, but it isn’t his only project at TIFF this year, with biopic Neruda bowing to rave reviews. Reuniting the director with No star Gael Garcia Bernal, the film also stars Luis Gnecco as the eponymous Pablo Neruda, a poet, activist and iconic figure of Chilean culture.
In the Deadline video exclusive above, Gnecco discusses his process in inhabiting a figure taken into the realm of myth and cultural legend, and his anxieties in approaching the role. “For me, [the biggest challenge] was how to give a voice to this character, because many people had an idea of what Neruda was in Chile,” Gnecco says. “It was hard because I felt I was going to be criticized, whatever way I choose.”
Speaking to his repeated collaboration with Larrain, and Larrain’s rising status in the industry, with Jackie emerging as another conceivable Oscar contender, Bernal touched on the continued necessity of films that invent, challenge and take ample risks. “That’s why we should be doing films, and the way films should be done nowadays. It has to be a risk, it has to be challenging,” Bernal suggests. “Because if we don’t do it, then we should just go and have a coffee. It’s more relaxing.”
To watch the conversation with Larrain, Bernal and Gnecco, click on the video above.