Diego Luna's 'Pan y Circo' Returns With Big Appetite For Equality, Representation and Great Food (Exclusive)

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Diego Luna Pan y Circo
Amazon Prime

Diego Luna is sworn to secrecy on his Star Wars series, Andor, but he's eager to discuss the new episodes of Pan y Circo.

"Oh, no, no. I can't tell you that," Luna tells ET when asked about how Cassian Andor's story adds to the galactic cinematic universe. "The only thing I can say is that I'm very happy with what we've done so far. But we're not there yet. We'll be there soon."

In the meantime, Luna is back with new episodes of his Emmy Award-winning series, Pan y Circo. Returning Oct. 8 with the first of four episodes, the Amazon Prime show sees Luna dining with a group of intellectuals, discussing timely societal issues with guests having different viewpoints.

"At the beginning, it was all about the need we found for a show like this, a show that was about listening, about understanding, about giving the opportunity for others who don't think the way you do, or to express why, and to actually find a way to connect and have that contrast of positions without falling into any violence or anything toxic," Luna explains. "The idea was to make sure we found a way to fight this polarization that is happening these days."

The first episode, "Healthcare Access," questions how the pandemic has burdened the healthcare system. It also focuses on what Mexico has done to save lives, as well as vaccination policies, government action and the cultural, social and genetic needs of the population.

Luna admits it was "hard to leave many other ideas out" when creating the new batch of episodes. "Everyone puts their worries, their reflections, their needs [forward]," he shares about the process of selecting topics. "And then we have to somehow find some common ground where we can all agree on what are the first topics that matter. This first one, which is access to healthcare, I would say was quite obvious."

Pany y Circo Diego Luna
Amazon Prime

The actor -- who created and produced the series with his and Gael García Bernal’s production house, La Corriente del Golf -- stresses that "many of these uncertainties that came with the pandemic need to be discussed." His first mission was to find solutions to problems so that people's way of thinking could evolve. "The idea was to have a show that could help us explore the present and the big task we have in front of us," he says.

When first creating Pan y Circo, Luna didn't expect the pandemic to last as long as it has. He thought he and the team would be doing one episode under COVID-19 guidelines.

"And at the end, it ended up being the first episode of that first season. We realized we had to adjust the whole format in order to survive these times and to make sure Pan y Circo would be able to stay relevant," he recalls. "So we created this new season that is about specials. Instead of putting together six or seven shows and doing all that work and taking months to execute them and putting them out there, the idea now is to do one and put it out there as fast as we can. So the conversation can be about the moment we're going through as we speak. And it can be relevant for audiences."

The second episode, available Nov. 26, will touch on democracy. The third focuses on the migrant experience, while the last will examine citizen protests. The final episodes will be filmed in New York and available in 2022.

"It's eye-opening, definitely, and I think it's topics that can't wait," Luna expresses about being the host of these heavy discussions. "It doesn't matter how heavy they feel, if we don't start discussing these things now, when? The idea is to find a way to bring audiences into what really matters in a show that is fluid, that is dynamic, that is interesting to watch, that involves things we can all talk about, which is food or culture, where we can make sure to let you know how important it is to go deeper."

Luna also prides himself on giving people a platform to speak about their work, whether it's a journalist, politician, investigator, scientist, performer, etcetera. "We give them the time they don't get anywhere else," he says.

The conversations and information flows between Luna and his guests, freely expressing their points of views.

"They have a dinner to express their ideas and they have two, three hours to sit down with us and really have the time to bring all those concepts in a way where we can digest them, where we can understand," he elaborates. "And it's quite interesting to listen to these people getting relaxed and finally talking about what they care about, but in the way they talk at home and the way they talk at dinner. Not in the way they talk when they know the attention is on them and they have to be fast because the time is running. They don't have that pressure here."

As for the pressure Luna might feel, it's discussing his top secret Star Wars series. The prequel to Rogue One follows his character five years before the events of the film. Filming has wrapped and, unfortunately, Luna reveals that no conversations have taken place to get his best friend and collaborator García Bernal on the show.

"No, not really. Not really," he says with a smile. While fans will have to wait until 2022 to see Cassian's story unfold, Luna is ready to spill all when the time is right. "Yeah, hopefully [I can talk about it soon] but it's still cooking," he says. "It's early to talk about it."

The new episode of Pan y Circo premieres Oct. 8 on Amazon Prime. The first season is now streaming.

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