Sunday, April 02, 2006

Interview with Mexican Screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga

Screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga likes to write car crashes into his scripts. It's a road accident in Mexico City that unites the three separate stories of Alejandro González Iñárritu's 'Amores Perros', and another that wipes out the children of Naomi Watts's character in Iñárritu's second film, '21 Grams' – which somehow makes it all the more worrying that Arriaga is now telling Time Out about his new film, the Tommy Lee Jones-directed 'Three Burials', while at the wheel of a car in his home country of Mexico. 'Don't worry,' Arriaga reassures me, 'I'll be careful.'

'The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada' – to give it its full title – is a cruel but also compassionate and intelligent revenge tale set in the unforgiving desert between Texas and Mexico. It won Arriaga the prize for best screenplay after its world premiere in Cannes last year, where Jones also picked up the best actor award. So how did a famed Mexican screenwriter hook up with a celebrated Hollywood actor to collaborate on the latter's directing debut?

'I was driving once and my cellphone rang and it was Tommy Lee Jones,' Arriaga begins. 'He said he'd seen 'Amores Perros' and that he would love to have a conversation with me. We had dinner together in Los Angeles, and, you know, in cinema I think it's very important to work with people who have similar tastes. We talked about our favourite writers, our favourite films, our favourite actors. He has an impeccable taste. Well, he has the same taste as me.'

You can find the review here

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