HBO Films Misty Peak, a New Original Brazilian Production in the City of São Paulo


This week we were able to accompany with exclusivity a day of filming for Pico da Neblina (Misty Peak), a new original Brazilian production for HBO. The filming is taking place in São Paulo – mostly in Morumbi – and the series is scheduled to premiere on the channel in 2019.

Misty Peak will consist of ten hour-long episodes and takes place in a fictional São Paulo in which marijuana has been recently legalized. The plot revolves around a young drug trafficker Biriba (Luis Navarro) who decides to leave his life of crime behind and use his knowledge to sell his product legally with an inexperienced investor Vini (Daniel Furlan). However, to operate within the law, Biriba will have to deal with the weight and pressures of his past and countless traps in the world of business.

Under the overall direction of Fernando and Quico Meirelles, with episodes also directed by Rodrigo Pesavento and Luis Carone, this original HBO Latin America series is being produced by Luis F. Peraza, Roberto Rios and Eduardo Zaca of HBO Latin America Originals, and Fernando Meirelles, Andrea Barata Ribeiro and Bel Berlinck of O2 Filmes. The screenplays are being written by Chico Mattoso, Mariana Trench, Cauê Laratta and Marcelo Starobinas.

In his first experience as a star, Luis Navarro tells us that his character is not your typical drug trafficker. “He’s an articulate guy; he has a vision that’s different from most drug traffickers that we’ve heard of or even know. He places his family and his friendship with his best friend Salim above all else,” he says. Navarro reveals that he’s drawing a bit of inspiration from Narcos, Breaking Bad and City of God, “but will emphasize more the human side,” he explains. In terms of the future of Biriba in the plot, he tells us: “He isn’t very happy at first and he comes to a point where he gets tired of not coming out on top.”

In the role of Vini – Biriba’s partner – is the Youtuber Daniel Furlan, known for his work on Choque de Cultura (Culture Shock), who now has performed various roles on TV and on the internet, and he talked with us about his work in these spheres. “It’s still worth it to me to work in both of these areas. I think that each one helps the other, contributes to the growth of the other. It’s a mistake to just be on one platform,” he believes.

Quico Meirelles, the son of Fernando Meirelles, is the overall director of the production and remembers how it all began: “In the middle of 2013, when the quota law went into effect, the people at O2 mobilized themselves to find more ideas for series when this demand appeared. We had a dinner for friends from college and screenwriters and Cauê (Laratta, one of the screenwriters) presented this premise: What if we made a series about a guy who’s a marijuana drug trafficker and suddenly it becomes legalized in Brazil? What will happen to him?” Starting with this, the idea was developed to be presented to a number of channels. The process took a year and a half of script development until HBO approved its production.

The directors are dividing the work by episodes – Quico, the overall director, will direct four episodes, while Carone will direct three, Fernando two, and Pesavento one. In the beginning, they got together to agree on the overall concept, including aspects of the photography, camera language and behavior to provide continuity no matter who’s directing. “In terms of references, I think that all scripts in Brazil today should look at Breaking Bad as a reference, and thus it’s one of ours in terms of the narrative of this series. But it’s almost an opposite reference, as if we were making Breaking Good, because he wants to go straight,” jokes Quico.

The director who’s worked in television as well as cinema, explains that a series offers much more time to explore the psychology of the characters. “A series is about character and narrative, while a film is about the way in which you film and the language that you use,” he tells us. Even though he’s working on film projects and wants to continue working in this segment, Quico argues that “films aren’t viable anymore. I say this because it’s getting more and more difficult to attract an audience. I have my projects, but this aspect is depressing. Working on something that you know people are really going to watch is much more fun. Series offer a much greater guarantee that you’re going to attract an audience,” he concludes.