“I came to London to study a three-year course, and about a year and a half into it, I was invited to do casting for Amores Perros. I got a phone call from Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, the director, and he asked me to read something, videotape myself and send it back to him. I had never done casting before in my life, so I did exactly what he told me to do. After that, I got a phone call back from him saying, ‘Let’s do it.’

“So he sends me the script, and I said yes. Well, I was going to say yes anyway. But there was one big problem. My school [London’s Central School of Speech and Drama] didn’t allow me to work. In England, they don’t let you miss school. If you miss school for three days, you get chucked out. In Mexico, this is completely incomprehensible.
“So I told Alejandro, and he came up with a very good Latin American solution to this problem. He said that a relative was a director of a hospital and he would be able to get me a medical certificate to say that I had contracted some big tropical disease on my last visit to Mexico. That was perfect because I had no hair when I got back here from Amores Perros and people believed me completely.” — from an excellent Nation Film Theatre q & a with Babel costar Gael Garca Bernal in The Guardian, complete with an mp3 podcast of the event.