By Sibel Tinar, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – As a city increasingly establishing itself as a prime filming location, and the audiovisual capital of Latin America, the photogenic Rio de Janeiro acted as the backdrop of Fast Five, the fifth installation in the popular The Fast and the Furious series.
Some key scenes filmed in the past weeks including car racing, the series’ main attraction, feature the city’s unique sights such as Cristo Redentor, Pão de Açúcar, the beaches, and the historic downtown area.
Most of the story of the film takes place in Brazil and involves the confrontation of a drug kingpin with the main characters of the series, Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), and Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker).
RioFilme and Rio Film Commission, the organizations that have been increasing the incentives to make the city more attractive to foreign film productions, hit it big this month. Along with Fast Five, scenes from the last installment of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn are also being filmed in Rio.
According to Sérgio Sá Leitão, the director of RioFilme, the four-day shoot of Fast Five in Rio de Janeiro has brought the city US$2 million. Leitão indicated on his Twitter account that while initially Fast Five planned to use CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) to create Rio on screen, RioFilme’s efforts persuaded Original Film/Universal to use real Rio locations for at least some of the scenes.
The cast and crew of Fast Five, including Diesel, Walker, Jordana Brewster, and director Justin Lin, arrived in Rio earlier this month for a whirlwind shooting period, during which they stayed at the world-famous Copacabana Palace Hotel, and received plenty of attention from fans and paparazzi.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, on the other hand, has been filming scenes involving its lead characters Edward (Robert Pattinson), and Bella’s (Kristen Stewart) honeymoon in and around the city, specifically in Lapa, and Paraty.
The filming of a scene in Lapa with hundreds of background actors, however, was met with protests from the residents and business owners in the area, who complained that they had not been informed about the shoot. “Of course, a production of this scope has problems, no matter how good the planning,” said Leitão in response to the problems associated with the filming. “But it was negligible, and the overall result is excellent,” he said.
RioFilme has been expecting to bring the city another US$3 million through the Twilight shoot, and has approved the inclusion of at least two cartões-postais, or identifying images of the city: the Guanabara Bay, and the Arcos da Lapa. Their objective is not only to generate new film production opportunities for the city, but also to associate the city’s image with the biggest blockbusters of our times, which will inevitably increase tourism.
A requirement for the films that shoot in Rio is to cite the city and the state governments in the credits. “We want to send the message to the world that Rio de Janeiro is a city that values cinema,” said Mayor Eduardo Paes.
The future looks bright for Rio de Janeiro in this regard, since RioFilme has hinted that they are talking with two more mega-productions to film in the Cidade Maravilhosa in the near future.