The Evolution of Diego Luna

Courtesy of Lucasfilm

Courtesy of Lucasfilm

By Richard Gonzalez

In 2001, Diego Luna had a breakout role in the Mexican independent film, Y Tu Mamá También. The movie was nominated for an Oscar that year for Best Screenplay and not only introduced Luna and his co-star Gael García Bernal to a larger audience but also the film director Alfonso Cuarón. Cuarón, who had gained prominence in Hollywood with Great Expectations and A Little Princess, has enjoyed a decade long string of success with films like Harry Potter and The Prisoner of AskabanChildren of Men, and Gravity.

Y Tu Mamá También was a significant film not only because it was a simple yet powerful collaboration between a group of some of Mexico’s most talented creatives, but because for many, it provided a first look into the amazing things that were going on in Mexican cinema. With this success in the early 2000’s the opportunity for success in Hollywood came calling. Over the last 16 years Luna has found his way in Hollywood working with high profile directors like Steven Spielberg (The Terminal) and Neill Blomkamp (Elysium) while always sticking to his roots in Mexican cinema.

Together with Gael García Bernal, he co-founded Ambulante, a film festival that showcases documentaries in places around the world where they would not otherwise be seen.  Luna has directed films and commercials showcasing the injustices that immigrants have to face and most recently, starred in a commercial questioning the effects of Donald Trump’s border wall.

The watershed of all of this success came last year when Luna took on the role of Cassian Andor in the Star Wars spin off Rogue One. The film was the highest grossing film of 2016 and Luna maintaining his accent in such a high profile role was the subject of applause to many people in the Latinx community. The success of Rogue One has catapulted his career even higher and this year he will revisit not one, but two very well known films. The first is the 80’s cult classic Flatliners (and yes, Kiefer Sutherland is coming back).  The second is the iconic role of Tony Montana in a new Scarface film that is being written by the Coen Brothers. If done correctly, Scarface has the potential to be the film that defines Luna’s career and the Star Wars franchise will no doubt lend him more opportunities to not only push the boundaries of Hollywood, but call attention to the causes that have always remained important to him in Mexico.