The story is based on the true-life story of Antonio Francisco Lopes, who went from a poorly paid man in Rio de Janeiro to “Nem,” the leader of one of Rio’s biggest slums and Brazil’s most wanted criminal and seen as a Robin Hood figure by the poor, but hated by the Brazilian elite. The series, also written by Glenny, tells the story of a man driven to crime when he is forced to find the money to pay the medical bills for his seriously sick daughter. It includes a fictionalized English character based on Glenny’s story.
Glenny wrote the book on which the International Emmy winning BBC/Amazon series “McMafia” is based. An investigative reporter and historian, Glenny divided his time between Brazil and London, living for several months in Rocinha, the favela at the heart of “Nemesis” story. he conducted over 200 hours of interviews with all the major and minor players, and over 30 hours of interviews at the Maximum-Security Federal Penitentiary with “Nem” himself.
Giuliano Papadia, CEO and creative director of BlackBox Multimedia said: “We’re always looking for stories with a strong local heart but that will speak to audiences all over the world. It’s about striking a balance between authenticity and universality, and when we read ‘Nemesis’ we knew we had found both. Nem’s story is a Brazilian story, but it is also the story of a father, of a family, of a community. We’re excited to partner with the team at Boutique Filmes and with Misha Glenny and bring this series to Brazil and to the world.”
Gustavo Mello, executive producer and co-owner of Boutique Filmes, said: ‘It’s a unique opportunity be able to produce a local story with such a powerful international angle and be leaned by a hit maker as Misha. It’s a bold approach, that goes beyond other series that takes place in Brazilian slums, a deep dive into one of the most intriguing and ambiguous Brazilian characters. We couldn’t be happier to have BlackBox partner with us on this huge production.”
“Nem’s story is one of the most extraordinary examples of human courage and frailty I have ever encountered in a single person,” Glenny added. “It demonstrates that even in a brutal environment, we are guided by an inherent morality which prefers good over evil. But where it can still be impossible to make the right choices. From the minute I started talking to them, it was clear BlackBox and Boutique understood exactly what the human dimensions of Nem’s incredible story are. It is a joy to be working with them.”
London, Rome and Madrid based BlackBox Multimedia was founded by Guy Avshalom — formerly COO of Lionsgate U.K. — and is led by CEO Giuliano Papadia, formerly programming director of Fox Network Groups Europe.
São Paulo-based Boutique Filmes’ credits include Netflix shows “3%’ and “Elize Matsunaga: Once Upon a Crime.”