Andy Garcia and Eduardo Verastegui Talk about For Greater GloryTIM DRAKE
Yesterday, journalists were given an opportunity to talk with several individuals involved in the production of the film For Greater Glory, which opens in theaters in the U.S. on June 1.
They sat down with director Dean Wright, and actors Andy Garcia (General Enrique Gorostieta), Eduardo Verastegui (Anacleto Gonzalez Flores), and Mauricio Kuri (Jose Luis Sanchez del Rio).
Tim Drake: The film opened in Mexico last week. How has it been received?
I received a letter from the grand daughter of General Gorostieta. She said that she was emotional in watching the film and that it honored him. She felt his endeavors had never received any credit. The story was really taboo in Mexico. No one talked about it. The Gorostieta name and his journey in the Cristero War fell under the rug along with the rest of the story. She felt that finally her grandfather's efforts were brought to light, and sent an excerpt of a letter that General Gorostieta had sent to his wife. In it he said, "I know that we've spent all this time apart and that because of the cause I'm fighting, I might never see you again. That is a possibility, but I know that the Gorostieta name will always be preserved for our children.
Tim Drake: You've been in many films. Do you have a favorite?
Tim Drake: What drew you to this project?
When I read the script I fell in love with the character of Anacleto. He's known as the Mexican Gandhi. He was a true inspiration for me. He gave his life and his last words were "Viva Cristo Rey." Doing research on who he was, I was able to receive far more from him than what I gave to his character.
Tim Drake: How did working on this film affect you?
My hope is that when people see it they will leave entertained, with a spark in their heart, and not afraid to be heroes. I hope they will leave inspired to do the right thing, that they will love more, and that they'll fight for something bigger than themselves and ready to die to self, and to learn from the mistakes of the past so that we will not repeat them.
Tim Drake: In the film, the martyrdom of Jose Sanchez del Rio is quite evocative of the death of Christ. Were the similarities purposeful?
Tim Drake: There's a clear link in the film between the death of Father Christopher and that of Jose. Tell me about the choice you made in shooting both deaths from above.
Shooting the death of Jose was the most brutal day of the shoot for me. When we got to that day, there was a light rain as we started to shoot. This light rain continued all day, and it provided the imagery we were trying to convey — of Golgotha. It was very somber and as we shot it, I felt like I was killing myself. After we shot it everyone was quiet. I slept for two hours and then sat on my balcony and didn't know what to say.
When I recounted to Peter O'Toole this and why I didn't understand why I was feeling this way, he told the story of Alexandre Dumas crying after he had written the death of Aremis in The Three Musketeers. These characters live in your heart and then you kill them.
Tim Drake: How did you prepare for the role of Blessed Jose Sanchez del Rio?
Jose's role is amazing. He was 14. I'm 14. He wanted to join the Cristero army to fight for God, for his freedom, and his liberty. That made me think if I would have done the same thing. At 14 he wanted to give his life for Christ.
There was also the opportunity to go to Mass every day on the set.
Tim Drake: What did it mean to play this role?
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