Tragically, one of the most underappreciated shows on television, Estevão Ciavatta’s magnificent PREAMAR, has been discontinued by HBO as a result of their contentiousness over production rights. While we sincerely hope that HBO will change its mind or that someone else will pick up this masterpiece of Ipanema, for the time being our friend Fernanda Rodriguez has graciously compiled a very thorough and interesting interview with three of the show’s most compelling characters, Paula (Karen Junqueira), Maria Isabel (Paloma Riani), and Pepete (Thiago Amaral) . The interview transcript follows:

paula-karen-div2-tl

Karen Junqueira (Paula)

  • What took you to acting?

Ever since I was little I already knew that I wanted to act; actually I think I was born an actress.

  • What is the biggest difference between TV and Theater?

Cinema can be done with one camera, while in television there are a minimum of 3 cameras in order to cover every angle; also we usually have a practice run, a run with cameras, then we shoot the scene that will go to the final print.  In theater anything can happen, and when mistakes happen improvisation takes over. Therefore, concentration is primordial especially in an actor’s life, with cameras or in front of a live audience.

  • You gave life to characters with very different personalities, which one brought the most joy?

All of the characters that I played brought me great satisfaction.  Although, Paula in PreAmar was my most enjoyable challenge and so far the one I am mostly proud.

  • Do you prefer playing a villain or a good guy?

I don’t prefer one over the other. Each character requires the actor to look at it as it presents its own trials and tribulations.

  • How were you invited for PreAmar?

I went through a succession of tests. I think I did about four casting tests before I was casted as Paula.

  • paula-karen-div-tlHow did you prepare to play your character?

I visited night clubs where the women worked at, had a chance to meet and talked a lot with them. Also, watched a lot of movies that were very insightful, and was able to build my character with my outstanding acting coach (Nadia Bambirra) that unfailingly helps me with all the performing work.

  • All characters have a backstory; what is Paula’s?

Paula comes from Minas Gerais, her family is blue-collar and her dad makes financial sacrifices in order to pay for her college in hopes that she becomes someone “better” than them.  Nevertheless, Paula is moved by her ambition, brand name clothing, expensive restaurants, around the world vacations and a colossal-front-view apartment to top it all off.  She is unquestionably disillusioned by Rio de Janeiro’s glamorized way of living, and every day she wants more.

  • PreAmar shows that people might go through life so ambitiously blind and thinking that they are in complete control; that once this is so called “control” gets out of hand…

“… The world comes crumbling down and you can find yourself doing unimaginable things!”

  • PreAmar was seeing in many other countries; what do you think is people’s perceptions of Brazil?

Rio de Janeiro is known as the “Marvelous City” for a reason; everyone would like to come to Rio at least once.  I had the opportunity of watching PreAmar in Los Angeles with some American friends; they were all taken by the beauty of the city as well as the way the series was masterfully made and with such skillful actors that were able to bring more than just the views of the city into life.

  •  Brazilian actors, such as Rodrigo Santoro and Wagner Moura have already had their Hollywood “breakthrough”; how do you think Brazilian actors are accepted in the U.S.?

In my opinion, the talent and this outlandish uniqueness Brazilians actors have about them. Wagner Moura and Rodrigo Santoro are both very respected for the work in Brazil, so why not expand this work to the world? – We can certainly be accepted and recognized in any place by bringing our professionalism and commitment. Rest assured that we will deliver our best.

[http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=aPGJ6D5JaH8&w=600]

Paloma Riani (Maria Isabel)

  • What took you to acting?

My extreme shyness; I was a teenager full of existential questions and never saw myself surrounded by friends. Because of that I became a bit of a loner, and my worried mom decided to take me to therapy. After 2 years, my therapist recommended that I take theater classes; I like to say that therapy, theater and later on motherhood have saved me.

For the past 16 years I have been working as an acting coach, and that made me distance myself from TV and theater. However, acting is my main passion and that is what took me to PreAmar.

  • What is the biggest difference between TV and Theater?

Theater the response comes immediate and direct, the stage is where actor and audience work together. TV has the “image” component that goes beyond the artist, preventing her from completely ownership of its work. In the television world you have scenarios that were not inspired by your character; there are numerous adaptations that must be made on a constant basis. Take a soap opera, for example; that may require four to seven different directors, which potentially forces the actor to have to adapt to the way the director sees the character.

  • You gave life to characters with very different personalities; which one brought the most joy?

I played Beatriz in the Brazilian theater production of Shakespeare “ Midsummer Night’s Dream”. But without a doubt, Maria Isabel in PreAmar was by far someone that will hold a special place in my life.

  • Do you prefer playing a villain or a good guy?

No preference. I believe that every being (in life or fiction) possess its own miseries and triumphs; the true challenge is how to bring it to life.

  • How were you invited for PreAmar?

I received a phone call of casting producer Daniela Pereira; she told me that they’ve already done testing with all available actresses, and was in this “testing” process for about two years.

I was already feeling lucky and fortunate when I got to casting try-outs, that I didn’t think of anything else besides letting the script take me, the scenes to guide me and to leave myself open to be directed.

On that same night, director Estevão Ciavatta called me and told me that he and the other HBO directors have found their Maria Isabel in me; I was casted.

cena-da-serie-preamar-da-hbo-brasil-1336090737585_956x500

  • How did you prepare to play your character?

One of the greatest tools for an actor is to listen. The foundation came from observing life itself and the ideas that I was able to exchange with the directors. Also, after every two episodes we had a different director and they were all very assertive and welcoming. I didn’t pre-rehearse any scene, we had an amazing script; therefore, I decided to let it flow. Maria Isabel was my opposite and I heard something once from our script director Patricia Andrade that made me feel extremely fortunate to be part of this project, she said  “The Maria Isabel played by you is better than the one I imagine on paper.”

  • All characters have a backstory; what is Maria Isabel’s?

Her loneliness, pain, anguish and the knowledge that she has of the mistakes she made.

  • PreAmar shows that people might go through life so ambitiously blind and thinking that they are in complete control; that once this is so called “control” gets out of hand…

“…Their most truthful and raw personality comes out.”

  • PreAmar was seeing in many other countries; what do you think is people’s perceptions of Brazil?

Particularly, my character as well received as the city of Rio de Janeiro.  Brazil is a very welcoming country, well developed and with incredibly beautiful women (laughs). By what I have seen on social media and the people that I came across in the streets of Rio de Janeiro, the feedback was tremendous!

  •  Brazilian actors, such as Rodrigo Santoro and Wagner Moura have already had their Hollywood “breakthrough”; how do you think Brazilian actors are accepted in the U.S.?

Lately, I have noticed that Hollywood industry is nurturing a little “flirt” with Brazilian actors. The fact that they aren’t so caught up on “type-casting” us for roles; however, showing what the actor’s true talent is definitely an accomplishment. I hope that Wagner Moura consolidates his Hollywood partnership.

Preamar2-620x229

Thiago Amaral (Pepete)

  • What took you to acting?

During my childhood the theater and the circus were constantly present; every weekend we would be looking for a good play or to see if the circus was in town.  I think the artist in me was woken from these childhood experiences.

  • What is the biggest difference between TV and Theater?

The work routine is very different between the two. Television is a mass-production cultural industry, while theater continues to be an almost “artisan” form of art. Take Brazilian soap opera as an example, which sometimes can run up to 9 months; the actor might never know what will be the character’s turn until he/she gets the next script and with that script may leave indications of where and how will character might end up, however, nothing specific.  Meanwhile, in theater you already grasp the beginning, middle and end of your character’s trajectory from the moment you are cast.

  • You gave life to characters with very different personalities; which one brought the most joy?

Pepete gave me the ability to slowly unfold him as the episodes went along, that way the audience was captivated by his humor, playfulness and life story.  He was introduced in a very subtle way in the series, and that gave me great pleasure. Although Pepete is one of the most fulfilling characters I have ever played, it would be unfair to choose one.

  • Do you prefer playing a villain or a good guy?

It does not matter; both sides present their challenges. I can honestly appreciate the skills of an actor that can both interpret a “good guy” that is not weak and a “bad guy” with enough humility; I focus on that skill.

  • How were you invited for PreAmar?

I went through numerous tests until I was casted as Pepete.

819972

  • How did you prepare to play your character?

I came upon it by searching for people that could be inspirations for my character’s life. In order to explore what could have been Pepete’s daily life I went to bars, clubs and watched a lot of movies. Gus Van Sant’s “Milk” and Pedro Almodovar’s  “Bad Education” were masterful references in building Pepete.

  • All characters have a backstory; what is Pepete’s?

Pepete’s journey up to the first episode was clear to me; I just decided to envision his background story, even though, there were no actual scenes written.  He was a “boy” full of dreams that came to Rio de Janeiro after the “success, glamour and richness” (one of Pepete and Fred’s iconic phrases). Pepete’s family lives in the city outskirts and depends solely on the money that he sends to them; therefore, the drug money is partially funding his family survival.

  • PreAmar shows that people might go through life so ambitiously blind and thinking that they are in complete control; that once this is so called “control” gets out of hand…

“… That is when we realize who truly are and go back to the ones that undoubtedly love us.”

  • PreAmar was seeing in many other countries; what do you think is people’s perceptions of Brazil?

PreAmar exposes many aspects that non-Brazilians visualize of Brazil. Beach, summer, and Carnaval do serve as background elements for the series; perhaps, even reflecting the opinion of most tourists about the country, which was just a way to stimulate people to surrender to the country’s other qualities.

  •  Brazilian actors, such as Rodrigo Santoro and Wagner Moura, have already had their Hollywood “breakthrough”; how do you think Brazilian actors are accepted in the U.S.?

I believe that Brazilian actors are cautiously securing their place in American cinematography.  In Hollywood, we still fighting to escape the “Latino” stereotype; however, some American directors’ interest in casting Brazilian actor and filming in Brazil have been growing over the years. The interest is only increasing and the possibilities of an amazing exchange between Brazil and US cinematography are endless.