Diego Luna has no regrets playing a narco on TV, says prohibition politics are more harmful
There are difficult conversations taking place across dinner tables all over the world as a global pandemic continues to ravage lives and civil unrest rages on in a battle for equality.
Diego Luna hosted seven such dinners and recorded them for his new Amazon Prime Video series Pan y Circo. Three episodes are currently available in their library with two more being added on Aug. 14 and Aug. 21.
Luna spoke to EW about his experience inviting a mix of strangers and longtime friends to have dinner with him for an open discourse on a variety of timely topics like abortion, drug legalization, gender violence, climate change, the pandemic, and racism.
In episode 103 of Pan y Circo, Luna and his guests — which included longtime friend and series producing partner, Gael Garcia Bernal — discussed failed prohibitionism and drug legalization, which brought up the topic of the negative stereotypes placed on Latinos for their portrayals of narcos in television. Luna, who currently stars on the hit Netflix drama Narcos: Mexico, says he has no regrets for his portrayal of drug boss Felix Gallardo because government prohibition politics are more dangerous.
"No, not at all," Luna tells EW exclusively about whether the dinner discussion made him change his mind about portraying a narco on TV. "It changes my opinion in terms of how as a citizen I haven't been strong enough to make sure I don't allow a politician to get to power if he doesn't believe in legalization. If he doesn't agree on the idea of prohibition being the big issue today. It's this strategy of prohibition that has made clear that the strategy doesn't work, that the violence keeps raising. They keep telling us not to do something and that doesn't have any connection with the existence of the issue."
Luna, who was born in Mexico, is adamant that the solution doesn't lie in eliminating TV series about the drug world but in governments evolving after years of trying to rid the world of drugs unsuccessfully.
"We don't have to change the TV series, we have to change the people in government that [are] not willing to change the laws that [will] treat us like adults," he says emphatically. "And make sure they accept these prohibition politics that just don't work. It's a strategy that we've been carrying for years, this war on drugs — it's a joke, basically. It perpetuates the issue. For me, the angle of attacking the violence that in my country we have today is...well, the day that we as countries work together in what needs to be solved — the market, on both sides of the border, is what we have to tackle and think of this as a health issue."
He adds, "To me, the beauty of this show is that it confronted me with my own ignorance. And it was a beautiful transformation just making the show and I just want to share that with an audience now."
Although Luna and Bernal only share a table once on Pan y Circo, he's anxious to share the screen with him again but admits they both have busy lives these days.
"I have a company with Gael and we develop tons of stuff," he says with a broad smile. "One day we'll do something together. But it's hard, our lives are difficult now. We have kids and we have stuff we want to develop ourselves and other stuff we want to do together. Yes, we will definitely do something. I don't know that it will have to do with cooking because I would say that I'm better at cooking, so I don't want to let him in the kitchen. [Laughs] You can always count that we'll be working on something together. Not only are we great friends, but we share a passion for telling stories and we care about similar issues."
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