Diego Luna Says Guillermo del Toro Helped Him Find a Special Way to Connect With His Kids (Exclusive)
By Liz Calvario
Cindy Ord/Getty Images for DreamWorks Animation Television
There are not many projects that Diego Luna can share with his two children, but thanks to Guillermo del Toro, he's found a special way to connect with them.
The 39-year-old Mexican actor stars in the DreamWorks animated series 3Below: Tales of Arcadia, now in its second season streaming on Netflix, as extraterrestrial Prince Krel of House Tarron. The story follows Krel, his sister Princess Aja (Tatiana Maslany) and bodyguard Commander Varvatos Vex (Nick Offerman) after they escape their home planet and crash on Earth. From there, the three take on human bodies and attempt to assimilate and live a normal life in a strange new place.
As the characters head into season two, the siblings are not only cleaning up the mess that was left after their victory against bounty hunters, but also reeling from Vex's betrayal. All the while, Krel and Aja continue to defend themselves and their "Earthing" friends from any new danger, as well as find a way home.
"Krel has a beautiful arc this season. I don't want to spoil what happens for anyone, but what I can say is that what Krel goes through is quite unique and I love what he represents," Luna tells ET over the phone about his character's growth in the second season. "What both Aja and Krel represent is this beautiful debate about 'Where do you belong?' They are trying to go back home and they are doing everything to get there, but at the same time they are living an experience that matters, an experience that changes you, and it's a beautiful reflection for what the world is today."
"Very few people actually leave where they're from," he continues. "So what does 'belonging' actually mean? That's a beautiful point in Krel's journey in this season and that is a beautiful reflection for kids and adults. [It's about finding a way to] appreciate where you are. Krel finds connections on Earth, even though they are so way behind as a civilization. Earth still has something for him and there is always something where we are that we can appreciate and learn from. I love that idea of Krel 'impressed' by that thing that humans call 'love.' It's a beautiful metaphor too, and his love of music."
Creator and executive producer del Toro has previously explained that 3Below is an immigrant story, told in a way that families can enjoy and watch together on the couch. For Luna, he thanks del Toro for creating a way for him to connect with his two children -- daughter Fiona, 10, and son Jerónimo, 9 -- and have important conversations about being kind to others and appreciating where you come from.
"This is a love story, a very profound one. And even though there is a lot of adventure and all these amazing characters and this very interesting world, at the end it's a comment on love, a comment on family and a comment on belonging," Luna explains. "For me, that's the core of this story and that is why it works so well. Like everything Guillermo -- in this case Guillermo and his team -- does, there's many layers to everything they do. But the core, the thing that drives everything in this story is a story of love and friendship and, again, belonging."
That message, as well as his close friendship with del Toro, is why he couldn't pass up the opportunity to work with him -- "It's tough to say no to Guillermo, almost impossible."
"It's beautiful to see Guillermo working and to see the passion that he puts behind everything that he does," Luna relays. "To be honest, I think I know him really well and there is always something that amuses me when I see him, when I am around him. I have to thank him because he showed me a way to talk to my kids in a very respectful, very intelligent, very horizontal way."
"The first thing I did for kids that I am very proud of was The Book of Life, and it was the first film that I shared with them and he produced that film. I was so happy I could suddenly share my work with them in that way," he says.
"I understood something else that 3Below and Trollhunters has too, is this very smart way to talk to younger audiences," he acknowledges. "Many times you find content that is so condescending to kids and hides a few jokes for adults here and there so that you don't fall asleep when you are watching with your kids. This is not that kind of content. This is a very complicated story that has many layers for many different perspectives to have a connection with them. And finally at the end, what it does is it brings families together. You can see something and you can have your own experiences and then your kids can have their own and you share those. The connection is unique, and then suddenly you have something in common with your kids or parents, which to me is really important to build. And working with Guillermo has taught me that, and he gave me that. And I really appreciate it because it's a beautiful thing because, to be honest, I can rarely share my work with my kids."
"It's a beauty to work with [Guillermo]. It's also refreshing because the passion he has for what he does is so contagious," he adds.
And aside from sharing his work with his family, Luna also admires the way the story shares "how important it is to connect with others."
"It's about these new connections that can actually change your life. It's about being open to connecting with others, which I really like," he says before opening up about his own sibling relationships. "One thing -- and this is probably because I have a sister but she was born way before me. We never lived together -- I remember is all my childhood being close to my dad and that was it. My father was basically my close family. So to me, something that is very special, that makes me emotional, is the brother-sister relationship."
"That sibling love story, to me, really resonates and I see it now with my kids, who are brother and sister, and it's very emotional to me."
3Below: Tales of Arcadia season two is now streaming on Netflix.
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