Jonás Cuarón is perhaps best known for lending support to his father’s sci-fi gem Gravity in 2013, but the screenwriter is no stranger to stepping behind the lens himself. Having already directed a pair of Mexican short films in Aningaaq and Año uña, Jonás Cuarón is gearing up to release a full-length feature in Desierto.
Spawning an old school game of cat and mouse between Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Gael Garcia Bernal, it is the former actor who assumes the role of the hunter, with today’s first-look trailer introducing us to an unhinged, gun-toting maniac that picks off budding immigrants looking to cross the border between North America and Mexico without batting an eyelid.
On the other end of the crosshairs is Bernal’s Moises, a Mexican resident who sets his sights on a better life in the “Land of the Free” before risking his life to be reunited with his family. It’s on this journey that the two cross paths, spawning a raw parable on immigration, and what happens when such underlying racial hatred runs amok.
Infused with real world commentary, Cuarón offered a little more insight into Desierto when speaking to ComingSoon, revealing how the nebulous concept for the drama came to him, and why he always wanted to collaborate with Gael Garcia Bernal.
“I knew from when I started writing the script I wanted to work with Gael,” says Cuarón, “For several reasons. One was that I knew from my experiences with ‘Gravity’ was that you need a really strong lead. There’s limited dialogue, so you need an actor that knows how to work without dialogue. Who can still pull the emotions of the audience. As a Mexican actor, he’s also one of the actors that I admire the most. As I kept doing research, I kept stumbling on many documentaries that Gael had done. Finally, I just knew it was important to have a star. A recognizable face. Migrants are people that — when the issue gets top vote in Europe or the US — it’s always ‘swarms.’ They’re not given a face. I wanted the face of a star that people could immediately relate to.”
Following a limited release across a handful of territories earlier this year, Desierto is headed to theaters on March 4, 2016 via STX Entertainment.