By Milli Legrain, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Award-winning British director Stephen Daldry has been in Rio shooting his latest feature-length starring Martin Sheen and Rooney Mara, as well as Brazil’s Wagner Moura. “Trash”, a thriller based on bestseller Andy Mulligan’s acclaimed novel of the same name, is due for release next year.
Daldry, director of the smash-hit films “Billy Elliot” and “The Hours”, has based the film on a screenplay by renowned screenwriter Richard Curtis, best known for his work on “Warhorse”, “Four Weddings and a Funeral” and “Notting Hill”.
A co-production between Working Title, Pea Pie films and Brazil´s O2 filmes, co-founded by Fernando Meirelles, director of Oscar nominated City of God, Meirelles met Daldry and Working Title while shooting in London. According to Trash’s Executive Producer and O2 partner, Bel Berlinck, “What was most valued was our vast experience in finding and coaching young actors and non-actors,” referring to the previously unknown stars featured in “City of God” and television series “City of Men”.
Cast producers Francisco Accioly and Anna Luiza Paes de Almeida screened some 500 young people across Rio over three months, until they found the three protagonists Rickson Tevez, Eduardo Luis and Gabriel Weinstein, none of whom had any previous acting experience.
With support from the Rio Film Commission, “Trash” was filmed exclusively on location in Rio and almost entirely in Portuguese. “From a production standpoint, “Trash” is more of a Brazilian film than an English one,” said Meirelles. When asked why the film was in Portuguese, Andrea Barata Ribeiro, Producer of the film and O2 partner answered: “Stephen is a director who seeks truth in every scene”.
The film was shot on an artificial rubbish dump in Jacarepaguá, Rio’s Zona Oeste (West Zone), to allow for more freedom when shooting as well as to reduce risks to cast and crew. To mount the dump, the production crew had to buy two thousand cubic meters of garbage, mainly paper and plastic, from a cooperative of garbage collectors. A range of objects included abandoned cars were then added.
“The script required a dumpster, near a favela of huts on stilts built on a dark water lake. We decided on a set that we could build the dumpster on. And we ended up creating a lake and stilts on the same spot. We found a disused mine, which fit the requirements for the dumpster and a spring for the construction of the lake,” said Berlinck.
The film’s art team, led by Tulé Peake, found water sources in own grounds, dug the lake and filled it with water. They then added fish to prevent mosquito proliferation and for some scenes they used rats and cockroaches. “The set was so real that dogs from around the community started to show up and live there, as well as frogs and vultures attracted by the carcasses left on top of the mountain of garbage,” revealed O2.
Besides the set created in Jacarepaguá, the film was shot across Rio, including the favelas of Vidigal and Tavares Bastos, Rua do Catumbi, Central do Brasil Station and Barra da Tijuca.
The plot revolves around three youngsters who discover valuable documents on a garbage dump, but also deals with the poignant themes of unprotected children, corruption and the struggle for political power. The film is set for release in the second half of 2014 by Universal Pictures.