Claudia Souto doesn’t hide her surprise with the return of Pega Pega, who gets a “special edition” as of this Monday (19). The author could not imagine reviewing the telenovela just three and a half years after the last chapter, even more involved with the initial works of her second work as the titleholder for the seven track –Cara & Coragem, scheduled for 2022.
The screenwriter could only imagine circulating again through the corridors of the Carioca Palace, a hotel that serves as the backdrop for the narrative, in an eventual rerun at Vale a Pena Ver de Novo. Fresh memory, however, doesn’t prevent her from taking stock of the plot — in which she sees more qualities than flaws.
She is even emphatic when stressing that she would not change even a comma in the serial, which, in a way, also caught the public off guard in 2017. Light, and without great pretensions, the story raised the schedule to a level that Globo could not reach since Cheias de Charme (2012).
“The soap opera reached an audience that hadn’t been seen in five years. It wouldn’t change anything, soap operas are like photographs of an era. There’s no need for retouching”, explains Cláudia.
The writer admits that the novel was far from being unanimous for critics, who turned up their noses at the lack of chemistry between protagonists Luiza (Camila Queiroz) and Eric (Mateus Solano), but believes she did a good job –and that you won’t have any bumps in your second showing.
“I’ll have fun and be thrilled. And now I’ll be able to enjoy it without the pressure of writing the story at the same time”, points out the carioca, in an exclusive interview with TV news. Check out:
PAULO BELOTE/TV GLOBO
The thieves at the Carioca Palace in Pega Pega
TV News – Did you have the expectation that Pega Pega could be rerun at some point in the pandemic?
Claudia Souto – I was really surprised. I hoped to go on air with Cara & Coragem before reviewing the Carioca Palace and its characters. But I’m happy with the opportunity, it’s like meeting old and great friends again.
The audience is already a little tired of the reruns, but do you believe that Pega Pega can surprise the audience again?
My expectation is the same as the first showing, that the soap opera makes the audience have fun, relax and also reflect on some relevant themes. The main asset of the special edition is to bring back these questions and see what will be debated now about ethics, gender diversity, racism, anxiety — as in the case of Bebeth (Valentina Herszage).
These subjects were lightly addressed for the timetable, but [ainda] are strong. The country has changed in recent years and I think the soap opera is even more important now.
Were the critics fair in picking you up because of protagonists Eric and Luiza?
I didn’t read all the reviews, but I accepted when it came from someone watching the soap opera. O TV news, for example, he always spoke with knowledge of the facts, both in praise and criticism, which was very nice. I thank. The healthy approach to a work that’s being written on air is really cool and generates interaction when it’s actually done.
Now, some clearly spoke without watching the soap opera, this was evident in the approach. Then I didn’t even waste my time.
The drag queen Rúbia (Gabriel Sanchez)
On the other hand, you were commended for addressing diversity at the core of drag queens…
I already had Douglas (Guilherme Weber), who was at the same time the very serious manager of Carioca Palace and the partner of an LGBTQIA+ nightclub, Strass. I worked on the story [justamente] of the gay man who hides his condition in order to impose respect on the employees and who, later, discovers that he had a child. It would yield a good discussion.
But the entry of Gabriel Sanches to be his partner in the club, drag Rúbia, brought me the possibility to expand and further deepen the LGBTQIA+ universe. Both Douglas and Rúbia bring sensitive and emotional stories of acceptance and struggle.
The thieves were a show on their own, but didn’t they eclipse the main couple?
Having Mateus Solano and Camila Queiroz defending Eric and Luiza was beautiful, I still get messages from Eriza’s fans. Once, in a restaurant, a fan of the soap opera came to thank them, in particular, for seeing a couple whose challenge was to overcome all problems together. She even pointed to her husband saying, “It’s like that in real life.” I was very moved.
At some point, did you have any doubts if the viewer would buy the fight between the Carioca Palace robbers?
There was doubt, yes, if the public was going to buy the plot of the robbery, even working their identification with a spectator from the beginning: the reasons that lead each one of them to commit the robbery; the fear of being caught for not being professionals but for having gotten lucky on the day of the crime. But in the end, the thieves also stole the entire soap opera (laughs).
Luiza and Eric: criticism for the lack of chemistry
Why do you think the serial fell into popular taste and established you as one of the new faces of the schedule?
Writing a novel involves a lot of techniques and knowledge about TV and drama, but if you don’t put your soul, your heart, you don’t communicate. It’s in the emotion that we connect, and I wrote, taken by it: either by the story itself, or by the realization of an old dream which was to write my first serial.
And Pega Pega had the best possible cast, everyone shone. And the direction of Luiz Henrique Rios was fundamental for the story told to be aired with grace, elegance and scenic intelligence. He is a master. The soap opera is the result of the meeting of all of us who made it.
You’ve been at Globo since the 2000s, but what made it possible for you to make your debut as a titleholder?
My main influence does not come from an author, but from a director: Roberto Talma (1949-2015). With him, I learned a lot about television. And that gave me the honor to be with the authors with whom I had the honor to work later.
When I write, I always ask myself, “What would the Talma say about that?” My biggest supporter. My friend. My idol. Talma would have loved Pega Pega and would certainly be thrilled with Cara & Courage. He would say: “it will be a success, Cocoa”.
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