Brazilian fans who went to the cinema to see the long-awaited fantastic beasts: Dumbledore’s Secrets will see a familiar face alongside stars Jude Law and Eddie Redmayne: the actress Maria Fernanda Candido plays the witch Vicência Santos in another hit film from the universe of Harry Potter, one of the most popular characters in the history of world cinema. Seeing a Brazilian in Hollywood is something more and more common. Maria Fernanda took the first step in this direction by participating in the Italian feature film Bastardi a Mano Armata (2021), by Italian Gabriele Albanesi. With this new film, however, she joins the list of Brazilian actors who stand out in super-productions abroad.
This plot began in 1940 with Carmen Miranda, who, although born in Portugal, made his career in Brazil. She starred in Serenata Tropical, a smash hit from 20th Century Fox. The film was part of the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration’s “Good Neighbor Policy”, a strategy that included investing in cultural partnerships with Latin Americans to prevent South American countries from allying themselves with Adolf Hitler before World War II. The episode turned out to be a problem, as Carmen had projected a cartoonish image of the country, with its empty sensuality and fantasies with bananas in her head. For her, however, it was great: she moved to the United States and made her fortune – just remember that in 1945 she was the highest paid actress of the year in the United States.
In 1962, O Pagador de Promessas, by Anselmo Duarte, won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in France. However, it was not until 1985 that the performance of a Brazilian, or rather Brazilian, was recognized: Sônia Braga, praised for her performance in O Beijo da Mulher Aranha, by Hector Babenco. Four years later, she would be nominated for a Golden Globe for her role in Paul Mazursky’s comedy Moonlight on Parador. It was the start of an incredible international trajectory: in 2020, the New York Times named Sônia to its list of the 25 best actors of the 20th century. participation in international productions, from films for American television to series produced for streaming. In her 24-year career, she has played in more foreign than domestic productions. He rubbed shoulders with big stars, with Will Smith, Matt Damon and Jodie Foster, and specialized in characters from action and science fiction films, genres rarely tackled by Brazilian filmmakers. His next role will be in Suicide Squad, where he will play Sol Soria, leader of an army of rebels. Another Brazilian who will shine in the land of cinema will be Bruna Marquezine. His name was confirmed in the cast of Blue Beetle, from DC Comics.
In Elysium (2013), Alice Braga was alongside Wagner Moura, another Brazilian with a strong presence abroad. After the box office success in Tropa de Elite, the actor is off to a successful international season. He shone in the feature films Wasp Network (2019) and Sergio (2020), a Netflix biopic about diplomat Sergio Vieira de Mello, killed in an attack in Iraq. At the time, Moura still did not feel comfortable speaking any language other than Portuguese. Even so, he focused on the foreigner. “This film is part of a larger project to produce content in the United States about Latino characters that don’t reinforce stereotypes,” he said. The role led to an invitation to play Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar in the Netflix series Narcos. Her upcoming projects include the series Shining Girls, on Apple TV+, and the feature film Civil War, by Alex Garland, in which she faces Kirsten Dunst.
Rodrigo Santoro joined the cast of the series Lost and Westworld and played small roles in Simply Amor (2003) and 300 (2006). But it was after playing Jim Carrey’s lover in I Love You, Phillip Morris, in 2009 that he became a big Latin American star in Hollywood. In 2020, he received on-set acclaim for his performance as the villainous Biggie on Project Power, fellow cast members Jamie Foxx and Joseph Gordon-Levitt revealed. Santoro says he does not separate Brazilian and international cinema. “The road is one, with different terrains and different languages. My look is more on the story, on the character, regardless of the language. The important thing is not to be Brazilian or foreign. These are the people, the projects,” he concludes.
Beware of American actors.