Amazon Prime Video is bowing its first original Brazilian drama series, “Dom,” on June 4 as it continues to rev up production in the region. The epic crime drama is the first original Brazilian series that Amazon is launching worldwide in more than 240 countries and territories.
Watch the trailer here:[embedded content]
Produced by Brazil’s multi-Emmy nominated powerhouse indie, Conspiracao, with creator Breno Silveira (“Two Sons of Francisco”) as showrunner, “Dom” marks a significant play in the region for Amazon Prime for its scale, ambition and scope.
The eight hour series is based on the true story of Victor Lomba who was a young scuba diver when, by a twist of fate, became a military intelligence agent and made the war on drugs his life’s work. We follow him through the years as he grows more disillusioned with the perpetual war and watches in despair as his own son, Pedro, becomes a cocaine addict as well as one of the most wanted drug lords in Rio de Janeiro, the titular Dom.
Said Malu Miranda, head of Brazilian Originals for Amazon Studios: “Amazon has been off to a really great start after launching Prime in Brazil in September of 2019 and in less than 18 months we already announced 11 different series, we are filming many of these simultaneously between Brazil and Uruguay.”
“Although we can’t say an exact number we are planning on shooting per year, the volume is quite high as Amazon Brazil is one of the important territories to the worldwide business,” she added.
Amazon Brazil has already launched two unscripted series: “All or Nothing Brazil National Team” and “Wild and Free in Floripa;” and one other scripted series “5 Times Comedy,” which it is streaming only in Brazil.
A second dramatic series, a transgender episodic from Fernando Meirelles’ O2 Filmes, “September Mornings,” launches worldwide on June 25.
“Dom” is helmed by Vicente Kubrusly and Silveira, who also led the writing team. The series is produced by Conspiração’s Renata Brandão and Ramona Bakker.
“Amazon gave us great freedom in the process; there was a lot of trust and we seemed to be on the same page. We got suggestions to improve the product even more: a writers’ room with eight professionals, as well as an incredible consultant who knew Brazil very well and helped us make our project even more accurate. Each and every input was first-rate and very well received,” said Bakker.
In an exclusive interview with Variety, Silveira offered some insights on the production:
What was your first impression upon meeting Victor Lomba?
Victor came looking for me 12 years ago at Conspiração. At that time he was still very tormented by the loss of his son. Our first conversation was very difficult. He was angry with society, the press, the world. Nevertheless, I recognized an incredible true story. I’m not moved by action films in particular: What I saw behind Victor and Pedro’s story was a dramatic and, at the same time, beautiful father-and-son relationship.
Did only writer Tony Bellotto have the patience to work with him? When did you realize that the movie idea had to become a series?
I hired two screenwriters to do a series of interviews with Victor and get the depth of the story, but both quit after a few meetings with him. They said he was impossible to work with. That’s when I invited Tony Bellotto to join the project and write a film script with me. And Tony saw that there was a book there to be written, so he endured. And when I read the book that Lomba took eight years to write, I realized there were too many stories there to fit in a single film. As well as a father-son drama, the narrative encompassed four decades of portraying how cocaine trafficking turned Rio de Janeiro into the city it is today. In a serialized narrative, we’d have the opportunity and the time to explore several of these characters’ layers and reveal many different facets, so that the public could grasp their dualities.
Did Lomba get to see the series made?
Victor’s dream was to see his story with his son told in a film, from a sensitive perspective, not by bloody tabloids. So, when I decided to take up the project again and told him it was going to happen, he said he felt his mission in life was finally accomplished. And my feeling was that, at that moment, he started saying farewell to life. That’s when he told me he had been suffering from lung cancer. Dying of an addiction just like his son, only his was tobacco. He met with us once in the series’ writers’ room, and shortly after that first meeting, was hospitalized. He sent me a lot of text messages from the hospital, many of which became the voiceovers we use in the series. Two months later, he died, at the end of 2018. He knew the series was going to be produced for Amazon Prime Video.
It’s reported that the production was quite complex, with 170 locations, hundreds of actors and VFX scenes?
I’d say ‘Dom’ is a production of a size never done before in Brazil, especially in production value. I hate sound stages. I like working in real locations, with the dirt, the heat, everything that contributes to my actors’ performances and to the look of the series. Reality really shows on the screen. And Rio is the actual location of the story, a truly beautiful and violent city. What could be better than that to tell Dom’s story? We met people in the favelas who knew Pedro Dom, and they added to the story. They gave tips to Gabriel Leone, who plays Dom, corrected him sometimes, told him the way the real character would do things.
Also, ‘Dom’s’ looks, editing, and cinematography are more akin to cinema than traditional television. We have big action scenes – we even blocked the access to a canal to film a boat chase, for example. And we recreated three different decades of Rio de Janeiro, including a traffic shot comprised of 1970s cars. There are 689 shots modified by digital visual effects. About 95% of the series’ VFX are invisible. This happens due to the high degree of realism we sought, to transport the viewer to other eras without their even realizing it. But we never neglected the intimate scenes and the emotion that this drama needed. This series, like my whole body of work, is Brazilian to the core.