Diego Luna Biography
Birth Name: Diego Luna
Birth Place: Mexico
Birth Place: Mexico
Born Dec. 29, 1979, in Mexico City, Mexico, Diego Luna Alexander had show business in his blood; he was the son of Alejandro Luna, a famous Mexican set designer, and Fiona Alexander, an English costume designer who tragically died in a car accident when Luna was two. At age seven, Luna took on his first acting role in the stage play "De Película," where the youngster walked naked across the stage to give a flower to an audience member. By age 13 he landed the role of Luis in the television soap opera "El Abuelo Y Yo" alongside a young Gael García Bernal and the two quickly became best friends. In 1995, Luna appeared in his biggest feature film role up to that point, "Un hilito de sangre" ("A Trickle of Blood") (1995) starring as León, a 14-year-old who follows his dream woman to Guadalajara. Luna continued to work in Mexican television with telenovelas like "La vida en el espejo" ("Life in the Mirror") (1999) and in lead film roles like "El cometa" (The Comet") (1999). English-speaking audiences had their first, fleeting glimpse of Luna when he filmed a small role as a childhood friend of Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas (the Oscar-nominated Javier Bardem) in the successful "Before Night Falls" (2000).
Luna broke through globally with Alfonso Cuarón's rapturously received "Y tu mamá también" ("And Your Mother Too") (2001) alongside longtime buddy Bernal. A dreamy road trip movie about an older woman traveling with two hormonally-charged teenage boys, the film intelligently explored the teens' erotic awakening as well as portraying the mature woman's wise and wry analysis - especially with a sexual twist that surprised many. The incredibly handsome Bernal and Luna, who appeared fully nude in the film in fearless performances, captured the attention of audiences and critics the world over. The film was a hit in its native Mexico and earned numerous critical awards in America, including a Golden Globe nomination for Best Foreign Film and an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay. Luna and Bernal also shared the prestigious Mastroianni Prize for Best Young Actor at the 2001 Venice Film Festival for their performances.
Enjoying the attention of U.S. filmmakers, Luna landed a small role alongside Salma Hayek in her Oscar-winning passion project "Frida" (2002) and, less impressively, as a 14-year-old wannabe vampire slayer tagging along with Jon Bon Jovi in "Vampires: Los Muertos" (2002). He appeared in the Kevin Costner-helmed Western, "Open Range" (2003), then headlined the Mexican crime thriller "Nicotina" (2003), playing Lolo, a computer hacker who, thanks to his infatuation with his comely neighbor, botches an exchange with Russian gangsters and inadvertently drags several unsuspecting people into a dangerous, pulpy plot. The film - and the actor - proved immensely popular in Mexico and Latin America, and was released to art house raves in the States.
For his first English-speaking lead role, Luna swiveled his hips as the star of the strange, semi-sequel "Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights" (2004). Even with a Patrick Swayze cameo, the charmless remake failed to recapture the original's magic. Still, Luna was able to grab a plum supporting role in Steven Spielberg's bittersweet comedy "The Terminal" (2004), starring Tom Hanks as a man trapped inside JFK International Airport when he is denied entry into the United States, as well as a return flight to his fictional native country. Luna played an airport employee with a crush on a female security guard, who received a little romantic help from Hanks. He closed out 2004 with a role opposite Maggie Gyllenhaal and John C. Reilly in the con men caper, "Criminal."
Luna continued to mix Mexican and U.S. cinema projects, which, along with the box office failures of his major American films, may have prevented his stateside profile from rising as high as Gael García Bernal's had. He filmed the romantic drama "Sólo Dios sabe" ("Only God Knows") (2006); the campy, international Orson Welles-themed mystery "Fade to Black" (2006); and the oversexed melodrama "El Búfalo de la Noche" ("The Night Buffalo") (2007 in Mexico; 2009 in the U.S.). The typically trippy Harmony Korine-helmed "Mister Lonely" (2007) was, to put it simply, baffling. In the offbeat film, Luna played a Michael Jackson impersonator who meets a Marilyn Monroe impersonator (Samantha Morton), who takes him to a Scottish Highlands commune populated by celebrity impersonators. Juxtaposed against the interactions of these deluded chameleons were the antics of a group of skydiving nuns. Understandably, audiences stayed far away, although critics found the dreamlike images and structure of the film - as well as the dedication of talented actors like Luna and Morton - impressive.
Luna also began to move into directing, lensing the documentary short "J.C. Chávez" (2007) about the life and career of the Mexican boxer Julio César Chávez. Reuniting with Bernal proved a good career move for Luna, as the two formed a production and business company together, as well as starred in Carlos Cuarón's "Rudo y Cursi" ("Rude and Tacky") (2008). Playing a pair of squabbling, country-boy brothers who compete over everything, including a big-city professional soccer contract, Bernal and Luna earned excellent reviews for their chemistry in the dark-tinged buddy comedy which did well at the box office. Luna returned to a big-budget, critically beloved movies with Gus Van Sant's successful biopic of the gay rights leader Harvey "Milk" (2008). Although the film did well at the box office and won star Sean Penn a Best Actor Oscar, Luna's small, flamboyant role as Jack Lira, Milk's suicidal lover, proved a surprisingly divisive issue among critics, many of whom singled Luna out for excessive acting.
Luna had happier news that year, however, when he married fellow Mexican thespian Camila Sodi, who gave birth to their son. Two years later, she was pregnant with their second child, expected in July 2010. That same year, Luna returned behind the camera to co-write and direct "Abel" (2010), the winning, strange tale of an unusual nine-year-old boy who literally steps into his missing father's shoes to become the "man of the house." The offbeat dramedy received good reviews. Still wearing his director's hat, Luna signed up to lens a segment of the short-film anthology, "Revolución" (2010).