September 2007

Behind ‘Bella

Actor Eduardo Verástegui acknowledges the power of God by going behind the scenes of Bella and sharing the following stories about …

Visiting an abortion clinic
Bella was our first film. So three weeks before I moved to New York to start shooting this film, Alejandor [Monteverde – the director] is calling me asking, "Are you rehearsing?" I said, "Brother, yes, but I need the actress to rehearse." And we couldn't find the actress [to play Nina] at that time. Two weeks before, no actress. And I'm in L.A. [thinking] how in the world am I going to rehearse, or how in the world am I going to do my character well if we find the actress two days before.

So I went to an abortion clinic. I thought it was going to be very easy and very simple. I was going to arrive, stop the first lady and [say], "Excuse me. My name is Eduardo. I'm making a film. Can I ask you a few questions? How do you feel? Hold on. Let me write it down."

That's what actors do. You go and you do your research, your homework and your tasks.

Now, when I arrived at that clinic, I was in shock. When I saw these 15- and 16-year-old girls going in, I didn't know what to do. Of course, I didn't even want to talk to them [anymore] because I didn't even want to use their pain for my own movie. So it was very hard for me. It was the first time I was really facing the reality of something I wasn't really aware.

I saw a little group of people trying to convince them (people going into the clinic) not to do it. So I approached that group and introduced myself to them, and they thought I was one of them. The next thing you know, one of the girls is telling me, "Talk to this couple. They don't speak English. They're from Mexico."

I go, "Sure."

The couple recognizes me from the soap operas [I did in the past]. Even though I did them like 10 years ago, they repeat them on television forever.

"Eduardo, what are you doing here?" [they asked]. I was thinking they're going to think my girlfriend is inside. I cannot tell them about the movie either. What am I going to say?

We ended up talking for 45 minutes about faith, life, Mexico, dreams, food – about everything. I was trying to be delicate. I wasn't trying to really talk. I was just praying, "Lord, please, help me. Help me to use my fame now to do something good and beautiful and to save this baby. I used to use my fame to do selfish things, and please, this is an amazing opportunity for me to do something to repair whatever I did in the past."

I was just praying and closing my eyes. I gave her a little teddy bear just like in the film. I gave her my cell phone number and everything, and then she started crying and she left the place. She didn't go in, so I thought maybe she was going to come back the next day because she was a little shy with me. I called her like three or four times, [and that was the end of it, or so I thought].

We found the actress, moved to New York, finished the film and came back to Los Angeles. A few months later I received a call from the man who was with her. He said, "Eduardo, I have great news. My baby was born yesterday, and I want to ask your permission because I want to call him Eduardo."

I couldn't even talk. I put my phone down. I was emotional more than I ever was in my life. I went to the hospital and I saw the baby. A few days later I was carrying the baby in my arms, and the way he was looking at me changed my life.

He changed my life because I didn't plan to do this. I went there only to do my work as an actor. I never thought that by the grace of God I was going to be used as an instrument to save this beautiful baby. And it [the opportunity] is the most beautiful thing.

Saving a life
In Miami, [there was] another girl who was going to have an abortion. We talked to her. We showed her the film, and she cancelled he appointment. A few weeks ago the baby was born, and they call her Bella. Now it's two babies we know.

Valuing morality
I said to myself, “I will never, for example, kiss anybody until I’m married.”  And everybody in Hollywood told me, “Well, that’s the end of your career. How are you going to work then? You will have to open your own production company and do your own films.”

And so that’s what I’m doing. It’s the only way. You can’t put yourself in another position where you’re going to be vulnerable because the next thing you know the director going to say, “You know what? Let’s change this. Ok take your shirt off. …” 

Next thing you know, you find yourself doing things that you already said no to. That’s why it’s called legal adultery because it’s the only career where you are allowed to be with somebody else, and it’s ok.