The world over, major broadcasters are faced by the same issue: How to the make series that have a SVOD edge for their fast-growing in-house OTT platforms without alienating a free-to-air audience – which is often already accustomed to global platform fare.
Bowing at Mipcom, “Sisi” was one answer, from German TV giant, RTL Group. Globo’s “Hidden Truths II,” from Latin America’s biggest TV company, is another.
Bowing its first 10 episodes on SVOD/AVOD platform Globoplay on Oct. 20, its first week near 9 million viewership hours decimated records for the biggest Brazilian OTT platform, proving four times that of Globoplay’s prior biggest release, “Grey’s Anatomy.”
Celebrating an online Buyers World Premiere on Nov. 5, to roll out international sales the second season will now look to build on large IP – 2015’s original “Hidden Truths” opened in over 75 countries – and an unprecedented marketing campaign.
“Hidden Truths II’s” global campaign included, from Oct. 27, images of the main characters featured in Times Square, the Champs-Elysées, and Portugal’s Lisbon Riverside.
“Hidden Truths II” kicks off with a 107-second sequence shot, the camera first hurtling towards a car wreck in a quarry, doubling around the vehicle to the front seats where Angel (Camila Queiroz), the series’ protagonist, crawls out of the wreckage from beside her dying boyfriend Guilherme, grabs her infant son and runs for her life as the car explodes behind her.
That shot is a declaration of intentions. In “Hidden Truths II,” rich and malignant Giovanna (Agatha Moreira) returns from Paris, hell bent on putting Angel behind bars as her father’s killer, not out of filial love but in order to inherit his massive fortune: With no body found nor confession from Angel, his money is put into a trust fund for years.
Meanwhile, Angel – bankrupt, widowed and ready to do anything to save her seriously ill son’s life – return to prostitution. Giovanna will equally do pretty well anything to make Angel confess her crime, setting the series up for ever darker developments in a second season which is far more stylish and choreographed than the first.
As Globo releases 1o-episodes of Hidden Truths II every fortnight on Globoplay, Variety talked to creator-head writer Walcyr Carrasco and director Amora Mautner about its big, big play for late 2021.
“Hidden Truths II” is Globo’s first telenovela – and maybe the first anywhere in the world – conceived from the beginning for a streaming platform, here Globoplay. How has that influenced you in creating the second season?
Carrasco: That’s very interesting because in a telenovela for free-to-air TV, in the traditional format, the story is conceived as a succession of linear events – albeit, with hooks – but also with episodes in a daily succession. In streaming, the telenovela is also conceived, obviously, as a succession of events, but they are block-based, since the episodes, at least in my experience, are presented in stages, where the hook of each stage ties in with an ending and a structure shaped for the new beginning.
The mise-en-scène stands out in a fun way as distant from the realism that became the standard for many TV shows. Even given that, the telenovela is quite reality-based, specifically seen in the characters’ different responses to money. “Hidden Truths II” seems to raise the question as to whether it is possible to coexist with other values. Could you comment?
I was a reporter for a long time, and worked for the top magazines and newspapers in the country. When I wrote the telenovela, I also did some reporting preparation work, surveying behavior and real situations behind the glamor-filled world of fashion, of money. In a certain way, the telenovela is über realistic.
From its first shot, the ambition of the telenovela is made very clear, both in the complexity of the shot and its string of striking visuals. How does the telenovela grow in its second season and where would you like to take it?
The telenovela grew aesthetically. It presents the fashion world in a fascinating way and the photography and performance are worked on to the extreme. That makes it beautiful, it is a work of art. The plot also became more complex, less obvious, and the characters, even supporting characters, have multiple layers.
Could you talk about the design of “Hidden Truths II’s” visual language?
Mautner: The telenovela has a more stylized and less of a realist concept. The mise-en-scène, or the brand, the acting and the tone are very organic. It was very important for the two things to work perfectly together: Cast and stylization.
The directors of the first episode include three of the hottest Brazilian young directors right now: Bruno Safadi, director of the highly stylish “Aruanas,” Fellipe Barbosa, winner of Cannes Critics’ Week Grand Prix, and Gabriela Amaral Almeida, an exciting auteur genre director working with Rodrigo Teixeira. Can you talk about their choice?
Since the beginning, choosing directors was very important, because we had to have professionals with a repertoire in formalist concepts. I had already great admiration for their work. So, it was very important that they joined us. That all but guarantees a formalist unit, both in the mise-en-scène and in the direction of actors. These are characteristics they’ve already brought to their auteurist work and that help create this atmosphere of Walcyr’s characters.
Coming off the success of the first season, where have you wanted to take the second?
I think the first and second seasons are very different, especially in the text. Walcyr’s first story was a tragedy, and in this second season, Walcyr drives much deeper into the dark side of the characters, and moves the plot toward an erotic thriller. The continuation is about the same characters, but the plot is different, the tone is different and the text is different.
Episode one ends with the melody of “Funnel of Love” in a beautifully choreographed erotic scene. It is sincere and attractive, but it leaves some room for the imagination. You walk this thin line towards the right tone for sexuality in such a big project with such a large audience. What was your process for finding the right tone?
We have five blocks of 10 episodes each. Every one will grow not only the series’ thriller aspect but also its eroticism. But regardless, I think each character has sex in a particular way. In this specific scene, Walcyr and I drew inspiration from a “Bonnie and Clyde” climate, born-killers. Other couples have sex differently. Anyway, what we actually have is a sample, from Walcyr’s viewpoint, showing how in the intimacy of their bedrooms, people do very original things. Our goal was to show that little by little, always based on the DNA of the characters. We are talking about characters and sex has to be genuinely particular to those characters.