The Berlinale opened today with a press conference featuring the International Jury, including high profile names such as director Paul Verhoeven, actress Maggie Gyllenhaal and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story's Diego Luna. Given that a key focus of the Berlin Film Festival is diversity, it may come as no surprise that the impact of today's current political climate reverberated throughout each question asked.
Despite Verhoeven's earlier protestations to the contrary, talk soon turned to Donald Trump and his goal to build a wall between Mexico and the United States. Unsurprisingly, #DiegoLuna was quick to respond, given that Mexico is his native country.
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When asked how he felt about this controversial political climate during his visit to Berlin, Luna responded by declaring that:
"I’m here to investigate how to tear down walls. Apparently there are a lot of experts here and I want to bring that information back to Mexico.”
Co-panellist #MaggieGyllenhaal joined in, adding the phrase “And America" to applause from the international audience.
Luna then continued by saying that;
“The only positive thing is that there has to be a reaction and I want to be part of that. I want to send a message that love is the only way to fight hate. I cross that border three or four times a month. I have so many love stories in the States and I’m not going to let any wall get in between me and my love stories.”
While Luna started out in Mexican films such as the critically acclaimed Y Tu Mama Tambien, the actor/director has also crossed over with great success into Hollywood productions such as Milk and #RogueOne. It's understandable, then, that the celebrated actor would be disheartened by Trump's decision to build a wall between the US and his home country, even if he didn't explicitly refer to American President Donald Trump by name.
Check out a younger version of Diego Luna in a key scene from Y Tu Mama Tambien below:
Later during the conference, Gyllenhaal took the opportunity to reaffirm Luna's sentiment once again, sharing that it's...
“... An amazing time to be an American at an international film festival. I feel like I want everyone to know that there are many many people in my country who are ready to resist. I feel honored to be here and to be able to say that.”
Gyllenhaal's politically charged statement was met with more applause than any other answer given during the star-studded press conference, revealing where the majority of the audiences' political loyalties lay.
This isn't the first time that celebrities have shared their thoughts on the new President of the United States. During the 74th annual Golden Globes, Meryl Streep gave a rousing speech attacking Donald Trump, provoking a heated debate that questioned whether celebrities should publicly announce their political standpoint, or remain quietly on the sidelines.
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By their very nature, politics will always divide people, but it seems rather unconstitutional to suggest that celebrities shouldn't also be entitled to sharing their opinions publicly. If free speech is taken off the agenda, then the likes of Diego Luna may very well wish that they really did live in a galaxy far, far away, instead of just playing a character who lives in one.