Fernanda Torres (Cannes best actress prize winner for “Love Me Forever or Never”) is attached to star in “The Hanged,” the second Brazilian feature of Fernando Coimbra (“A Wolf at the Door,” “Narcos”), which is set up at Brazilian shingle Gullane.
Co-produced by Globo Filmes and Brazilian pay TV channel Telecine, “The Hanged” is a “tragic action thriller,” producer Fabiano Gullane said in Cannes. It centers on a married couple: Regina, from one of Rio de Janeiro’s most important (but bankrupt) families and Valerio, a mobster. Impelled by ambition, they kill Valerio’s uncle to grab a slice of Rio’s illegal gambling racket.
While a by-the-book police chief investigates corrupt cops with links to the city’s underworld, the murder sparks a turf war contaminating Valerio and Regina’s trust, driving their growing sense of paranoia, and leading to what the film’s synopsis calls a tragic outcome and “an operatic and insane bloodbath.”
Put through a Sundance Screenwriter Lab in 2015, “The Hanged” won best project at Sundance’s Global Filmmaking Awards.
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“The Hanged” is “about marriage, not only its love and passion but the plans a couple makes together and the expectations and frustrations that grow with it,” Coimbra said.
But Regina and Valerio’s marriage is impacted so much by modern-day Brazil as to deliver a searing portrait of the contemporary Brazil “where reality is more grotesque than any fiction,” Coimbra said.
“I was seduced by the perfect melange of the bloodiest plays of Shakespeare with the ethical, social and moral collapse of Rio, my city, nowadays,” Torres added.
In a sign of its large audience potential, “The Hanged” will be distributed in Brazil by Paris Filmes, the country’s biggest independent distributor.
Gullane said at Cannes that he is talks with potential production partners in Europe and the U.S.
One of Brazil’s biggest and most successful production houses, Gullane produced Sundance and Berlin-prized “The Second Mother,” a Match Factory sales hit, and, in TV, Mip Drama Screenings winner “Jailers,” a recent huge hit on Globo.
Budgeted some 50% above average Brazilian movies, “The Hanged” form part of a Gullane film-TV slate which also takes in Season 2 of “Jailers,” whose first season average a massive ratings in Brazil; Karim Ainouz’s “Neon River,” a wild love story-come-action thriller set in a near-future Tokyo; animated comedy feature “Noah’s Ark,” co-produced with Walter Salles’ Videocine Filmes, the biggest animated feature coming out of Brazil, now being pre-sold to bullish results by L.A.’s Cinema Management Group; “The Freitas Brothers,” an eight-part series made for Turner Latin America’s Space.
Coimbra and Torres talked to Variety about “The Hanged,” a flagship project for Gullane and Brazilian cinema in general:
What is the film about?
Coimbra: On a first level, marriage. Not only the love and passion of it, but about the plans a couple make together and the expectations and frustrations that grow with it.
And at a deeper, level?
Coimbra: Well, just picture this plan. It’s a crime they commit together, in the highly corrupted world they live in, in a contemporary Brazil nowadays, where reality is more grotesque than any fiction. A reality where the police pushes them to snitch on each other in order to save their souls as individuals.
“The Hanged” echoes “Macbeth,” “Hamlet”….
Coimbra: The tone is cruel and funny, a Shakespearean tale shot in Brazil by a Korean filmmaker in the Coen brothers’ tone. As hard to define as modern Brazil!
What character do you play?
Torres: I play Regina, a well-educated woman, daughter of a family which has seen better times from the late Ipanema, married to a nouveau rich gangster. She helps her husband to kill his uncle, who had assassinated his father, in order to inherit the family business.
And what’s her character?
Torres: The escalating violence of the couple increases throughout the script, while they plan a perfect future in their renovated apartment in Barra da Tijuca, a Miami like neighborhood, on the west side of Rio de Janeiro. She is vague, has little empathy for others, and is able to plan a murder with the same absurd coldness that she describes an ideal pool to a bunch of bricklayers. It could be a comic character, if she were not so tragic.
What attracted you to “The Hanged”?
Torres: I was seduced by the idea of being directed by Coimbra, whose work I deeply admire, and also by the perfect melange of the bloodiest plays of Shakespeare with the ethical, social and moral collapse of Rio, my city, nowadays.