"Miss Bala" puts human face on Mexico's drug war

Fri Jan 20, 2012 4:56pm EST
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By Iain Blair

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - In a ripped-from-the-headlines story, the new movie "Miss Bala," which opens in limited U.S. release on Friday, tells the harrowing tale of a small-town Mexican beauty named Laura who inadvertently becomes involved with a violent drug lord.

Directed and co-written by Gerardo Naranjo and executive produced by Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal of "Y Tu Mama Tambien" fame, the film takes a cold, hard look at Mexico's devastating drug war and its effect on the country and people.

Naranjo and Luna talked to Reuters about making the film and its message.

Q: Is it true that this film was inspired by a newspaper story you read?

Naranjo: "Yes, I saw this story about drugs and weapons smuggling and this beautiful young woman who was accused of working for a drug cartel. And then we started researching about how you can smuggle guns from the U.S. to Mexico so easily. No one will search your car coming that way."

Luna: "And when we shot the scene where Laura drives across the border with all this money hidden under her dress, we had a camera and shot with no permits or anything, and nobody stopped her. That tells you everything. You don't even have to hide the weapons in the trunk. When you cross into Mexico, it's no problem."

Naranjo: "Going the other way, into the U.S., you just have to pay more money, but it's still possible. Otherwise, how do all these drugs get across the border?"

Q: This was Stephanie Sigman's (Laura) first starring role. Were you nervous about casting a newcomer in the lead role?   Continued...