By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – “A Regra do Jogo” (The Rules of the Game), the hotly-anticipated novela (soap opera) scheduled to premiere on the Globo network on August 31st at 9PM, uses reality show filming techniques and carefully crafted, extensive and intricate set design in an attempt to “realistically” portray life in the fictional favela of Morro da Macaca.
Written by João Emanuel Carneiro, the author of the highly-acclaimed and hugely popular novela “Avenida Brasil,” “A Regra do Jogo” is also a suspense serial but instead of focusing on the theme of revenge, Carneiro’s newest work will reportedly explore the difference between right and wrong and between acceptable and unacceptable behavior in modern society.
The cast of the novela will include Alexandre Nero, Susana Vieira, Cauã Reymond, Cassia Kis Magro, Giovanna Antonelli, Vanessa Giacomo, Eduardo Moscovis, Marco Pigossi, and Tony Ramos and many of their characters’ intertwining storylines are set in the fictional favela of Morro da Macaca.
While meant to resemble one of Rio de Janeiro’s Zona Sul (South Zone) favelas like Vidigal, Morro da Macaca is, in reality, a 4,000 square meter set constructed over two years in Projeto Jacarepaguá, often abbreviated as Projac, part of the Central Globo de Produções (O Globo’s center of production).
Referred to by the production crew as a “caixa cência” (scenic box), the set features approximately fifty buildings with 35 of them built to resemble commercial structures. The structures include private residencies, a school, a deli, a craft shop, a travel agency, food trucks, food bikes, a grocery store, a petshop, a barber shop, a hostel and a funk club, Caverna da Macaca, among others.
To ensure authenticity, the structures were created using wood, scrap materials, concrete, tiles, and real bricks with experienced masons assisting in the construction. Additionally, professional landscapers were consulted about the proper vegetation to feature on the set and one of the set’s shops features a garden with real fruits.
There are cables spread across buildings, and alleyways run between them. Favela residents and professionals also provided authentic objects for the set including refrigerators, sofas, and bedding from their own homes. Even the show’s beer labels were meticulously crafted by a graphic designer.
“It is a favela that worked: happy, cheerful color,” general director of “A Regra do Jogo,” Amora Mautner, told O Globo. “It’s a mixture of various places like Santorini in Greece; La Rambla in Barcelona; Mexico; Trancoso; and Vidigal. There are many colors and many textures. It’s not just setting the scene. I wanted to deal with Brazil, to be human.”
To further achieve her goal, Mautner filmed “A Regra do Jogo” differently than other novelas, doubling the number of cameras regularly used from four to eight. Within the eight she included two robotic cameras which could shot remotely and also hid several other cameras to give the filming a natural feel.
“It’s like a slot car around the actor,” Mautner told Folha de S. Paulo. “They do what they want and the camera goes behind them, there no longer need to be scene markers. It’s real life, organic.”
Additionally, Boninho, director of the popular “Big Brother Brasil” reality show, was consulted throughout the project.
The forty-year-old Mautner, who also directed “Avenida Brasil,” appears in recent interviews to not be worried about “A Regra do Jogo” failing to live up to the former novela’s success which included a reported seventy percent of TV audiences tuning in and a hashtag, #OiOiOiFinal, about the show’s final episode trending number one worldwide on Twitter. Addressing the comparisons, Mautner told Folha de S. Paulo, “This is better, bolder.”
The first episode of “A Regra do Jogo” will air on August 31st at 9PM on the Globo network.