Wagner Moura will bring Brazilian diplomat Sergio Vieira to life in a drama 100% free of Latino stereotypes
Netflix will premiere "Sergio" on April 17 and is co-starred by Cuban Ana de Armas.
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The story of UN diplomat Sergio Vieira de Mello, who lost his life in August 2003 during a terrorist attack in Iraq, has been brought to the screen by director Greg Barker.
The biopic, as the filmmaker told Deadline, has been thoroughly developed. So much so that he can assure us that in the film, there is not a single cliché of the kind that Latinos are so accustomed to in Hollywood.
The stars of "Sergio", which Netflix is releasing on April 17, are already a good evidence:
The Brazilian Wagner Moura will play the diplomat and the Cuban Ana de Armas will give life to his wife, Carolina Larriera, both of whom were killed in the explosion of a truck bomb at the Canal Hotel, leaving at least 150 people injured.
“I had this vision for this film as a story of one guy’s struggle to understand himself and this world and to find a way through the darkness,” Barker told Deadline. “At the core of the story is a message of hope, empathy and to see people different from yourself and see inside yourself.”
“What I wanted to do was to produce films about Latin people that don’t enforce stereotypes,” Wagner Moura.
The director had already released a documentary on Vieira ten years ago for HBO, but he admits that he always saw the story as a movie, especially in the complicated aftermath of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
Actor and producer Wagner Moura spoke of the responsibility of Latinos in telling stories that are representative: "What I wanted to do was to produce films about Latin people that don’t enforce stereotypes,” he said. He also noted the importance to him of taking on the role of Sergio Vieira, as he always considered him a personal hero.
Even more enthusiastically, Ana de Armas revealed her participation in the project on social media, when she shared a photograph in which she appeared with a badly wounded face, an image that worried her fans before they knew it was a spectacular makeup.
"This project changed my life," she wrote. "We all came together on this because of the empathy, inspiration, love, and respect we feel for Sergio Vieira de Mello and his legacy."
After six books and at least five films, there are those who, without knowing the life and context of Vieira de Mello's death, might wonder what is so absolutely moving about his life that it has made rivers of ink flow.
During the 34 years that he worked for the UN, De Mello managed to build one of the most promising diplomatic careers in recent history. Born in Rio de Janeiro, he graduated and received a doctorate from the University of La Sorbonne in Paris. At the age of 21, he began working for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), serving in various missions in countries such as Lebanon, Mozambique, Cyprus, and Cambodia.
The diplomat was particularly prominent for his commitment to the reconstruction of East Timor, which was severely damaged after 24 years of Indonesian invasion, and he played an important role in the creation of its new constitution.
A year before his death, he took up the post of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights because of this work. He became the most likely and deserving successor to the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
Little did he know that his mission to Iraq in 2003 would be the last one.