Monday, May 16, 2011
GET PERSONAL: ALEJANDRO GONZALEZ INNARITU
A few years ago I was out having lunch with my mother when I noticed a familiar face walk by. All sound faded to whisper when I realized that this person was none other than Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu , the famed Mexican director of such films as Babel and Amores Perros. I was careful to avert my eyes so as not to seem obnoxious, when my mother assured me: he's a director, not an actor, he probably never gets recognized. The following half hour was a back-and-fourth conversation about whether or not I should approach him. Seeing that he was eating lunch with his wife, I decided against it (excuses, excuses). When I got home I was furious that I'd allowed the opportunity to pass, so I sat down and wrote him a letter. I then found his representation at CAA and attempted to hand-deliver my letter to the agency (CAA, for those who haven't tried to hand-deliver an unsolicited letter, is more difficult to penetrate than a state penitentiary). I resolved that one day I'd see him again and I'd have a great story to tell him.
The opportunity presented itself this weekend.
I was pulling out of a parking spot in Santa Monica when I looked over my left shoulder and noticed a cherried-out beige Vespa. Riding this Vespa was none other than...yes...Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu . I threw my hands against the glass of my window (as if this would do anything expect make me look like a crazy person) and gasped. The Vespa slowed to a stop in front of a hair salon half-a-block up the street. A teenage girl (his daughter) hopped off the back and ran inside. I watched (admittedly in shock) as Iñárritu geared up and drove off, once again. The other person in my car urged me to follow him home, or stake-out at the hair salon until he inevitably came back to pick up his daughter. No, I said...I wouldn't resort to stalking (excuses, excuses).
I could write another letter or sit and wallow in my (admitted) cowardice, but instead I choose to believe that 3rd time will be the charm and, this time, I'll have an ever better story to tell.
Why, you might ask, do I get so worked up over this person? Not only do I consider him to be an innovative director and artist, but I am (and have always been) partial to Latin cultures/people and he is....very good looking.
Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu was born August 15th, 1963 in Mexico City, Mexico. His father had been a wealthy banker, but went entirely bankrupt when Iñárritu was a boy. Having to rebuild himself financially, Iñárritu developed a great respect for his father that would influence his later work. Before starting college, Iñárritu spent a gap year crossing the Atlantic on a cargo ship (where he greased the engines), traveling through Europe and Africa. He then enrolled as a student of communications at the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico. Towards the end of his education, he started working as a radio host for various independent radio stations. His work in radio, in addition to his own work as a musician, prompted him to compose music for television and film. After composing scores for 6 Mexican feature films, Iñárritu and creative partner Raul Olvera created Z Films. This production company afforded Iñárritu the opportunity to write, produce, and direct his own films.
Iñárritu has only produced four feature films to-date, the first of which was Amores Perros (2000). The film, which he co-wrote 36 times over 3 years with Guillermo Arriaga, won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film and was the most recognized film of the year with 60 award nominations in total. Following the success of Amores Perros, Iñárritu moved to Los Angeles where he produced his first American film, 21 Grams. His following films include Babel (2006) and Biutiful (2010). Iñárritu is a true auteur, having won 12 Academy Award nominations for only 4 films (two of which were entirely in Spanish). He is the first Mexican filmmaker to win an Academy Award for best director and the first Mexican to win the Prix de la Mise en Scene at Cannes. He now lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two children.