Fiction and reality combine in romantic period drama Nada Será Como Antes (Nothing Remains the Same), set during the time of Brazil’s first TV network in the 1950s. Writer Jorge Furtado spoke to DQ.
1950s-set period drama Nada Será Como Antes (Nothing Remains the Same) is a love story told against the backdrop of Brazil’s nascent television industry.
The series, produced and broadcast by Globo, follows radio producer Saulo (Murilo Benício), a visionary who dreams of creating the first TV network in Brazil.
Yet his blossoming romance with Verônica (Debora Falabella), a radio star who aspires to be an actress, must overcome challenges on- and off-screen if they are to live happily ever after.
Full of intrigue, jealousy and betrayal, the 10-part series has its roots in reality, set at a time when not only TV but movies and music were impacting on swathes of Brazilian culture.
The series, which first aired last autumn, was written by Jorge Furtado, Guel Arraes and João Falcão and directed by José Luiz Villamarim. It is distributed internationally by Globo International.
Here Furtado tells DQ what inspired the story and how the creative team sought to impress the spirit of the country’s famous long-running telenovelas into a 10-part series.
Tell us about Nothing Remains The Same.
Nothing Remains the Same tells the story of Saulo [Murilo Benício, Brazil Avenue], a pioneer in Brazilian television; Verônica [Débora Falabella, Brazil Avenue, Merciless], a radio star who rises as a television star; and Beatriz [Bruna Marquezine, Helena’s Shadow], a young actress seeking a career in the new world of TV. The series looks at the early years of television, from its almost accidental creation to the colossal industry it would later become, shaping Brazil’s culture and politics along the way. Television appeared in a moment of great change in the country, the late 1950s, alongside a growing wave of industrialisation, the return of democracy, the capital city moving to Brasília and revolutions in behaviour – particularly the new roles women were assuming.
What are the origins of the series?
We have worked in television for more than 30 years and we have long wanted to tell the stories that took place behind the scenes. The need to reflect on our own work was the starting point for this series.
How was the show developed for Globo?
The project started with an original script, which was rewritten in an effort that took almost two years. When we finally felt that the story was ready, we were faced with yet another challenge, which was to set up a production structure capable of faithfully recreating a period filled with so many changes. The time the series is set in was a special moment in Brazil. It was vastly rich culturally, with not only TV emerging but also Brazilian music and movies that are now the foundation of our culture, and also the reorganisation of the political structures we know today.
How would you describe the writing process?
This was perhaps the most complex project we have ever ventured into in all these years of work. Our foundation was the Brazilian telenovela, which is the strongest genre in our television and our favourite national pastime, which we also export to other countries. The three of us sat down and wrote various script treatments, separating the many plots going on behind the scenes of a telenovela into 12 chapters.
How did the writers and director work together to create the visual style of the show?
The series’ visual design took shape under the hands of artistic director José Luiz Villamarin and his team, with photography by Walter Carvalho, art production and set design by Tulé Peak and Pedro Équi and costumes by Cao Albuquerque. Studios, backstage sets and dressing rooms were faithfully rebuilt.
Where was the series filmed and how do you use the locations on screen?
The series was filmed at Globo Studios and on location in the city of Rio de Janeiro. We also used a lot of archive footage, which was carefully blended with our images, to re-create the late 1950s on screen.
What were the biggest challenges you faced during production?
The greatest challenge was creating something that reflected the seductive power of telenovelas without spiralling into an actual telenovela.
How would you describe the current state of TV drama in Brazil? Are series becoming more popular than telenovelas?
No, telenovelas still reign supreme as the favourite pastime of viewers. But the audience’s passion for Brazilian dramaturgy and our cultural industry’s great capacity came together to form a solid foundation to produce Brazilian series, which has been going on for some time now. Now we are embarking on a new era with unique dramaturgy focused on more Brazilian themes.
What new stories are now being told in Brazil? Are viewers’ appetites for new genres changing?
Viewers can now access a growing number of different types of audiovisual dramaturgy, with digital media bursting with countless formats. Today, we already have series that reflect the extraordinary cultural diversity we have in Brazil and also our ancestral problems arising from social inequality. We believe that there is room for many different formats and that audiences are ready to accept them, as long as their contents are good and relevant.