Sergio Marone, renowned Brazilian actor, takes on a new challenge behind the scenes of cinema with the production of the film “Jesus Kid”. With a script signed by Aly Muritiba, the plot revolves around Eugênio (played by Paulo Miklos), a western writer known for creating the character Jesus Kid, also played by Marone. The story takes on a new turn when Eugênio is invited to write a script, as long as he isolates himself in a luxurious hotel for three months, without any contact with the outside world.
In addition to his participation as a protagonist, Sergio Marone expands his horizons in cultural production, seeking to invest in projects beyond his acting career and his involvement as an entrepreneur in the field of dermocosmetics with the Tukano brand. The film “Jesus Kid” emerges as a strong contender at the 46th edition of the Gramado Film Festival, where it competes for awards in the categories of Best Comedy Feature Film, Best Adapted Script and Best Visual Effects. With three wins already achieved, the production is a promising bet for the awards, which will take place on August 23.
The film, which marks Sergio Marone’s debut in cultural production, promises to captivate audiences with its engaging plot and the actor’s ability to bring the iconic character Jesus Kid to life. With a talented cast and an intriguing script, the work stands out as one of the highlights of the Brazilian cinematographic scene, taking the public on an exciting journey full of surprises.
How did the idea of producing the film “Jesus Kid” come about and what was your role in that process?
The idea of producing the film “Jesus Kid” came from the desire to work with people I admire, like Lourenço Mutarelli himself, whose screenplay was adapted from one of his novels. The film’s director, Paulo Miklos, Mauro Miranda and Leandro Daniel are also professionals that I admire a lot. It was a fantastic experience to be able to play the character of the Jesus Kid, a cowboy, which is something outside my usual range of roles. My participation in the film was mainly as a producer. I acquired the rights to the novel, invited the director to the project and worked to make the production a reality.
What was the biggest motivation for investing in cultural production and exploring this new facet beyond acting?
The biggest motivation was to create an opportunity to work with people I admire, telling an interesting and different story. “Jesus Kid” is a comedy that deviates from the standards of Brazilian cinema, bringing social and political criticism. This theme is in line with what I like and what I believe, that art should entertain, but it should also question and make people reflect. I believe the film was successful in that sense.
What was it like working with Aly Muritiba on the film’s script? What was her contribution to the construction of history?
It was amazing to work with Aly Muritiba on the film’s script. In addition to being a guy I admire a lot, he is extremely talented and genius. He adapted the script for the present day, considering I bought the novel almost 10 years ago. We spent seven years producing the film and the original novel by Lourenço Mutarelli had a type of humor that perhaps is not well accepted these days. Aly reframed the story very well, bringing a more up-to-date mood, related to the political context we were living in the country. I believe he was very successful in that adaptation. My contribution to the story was actually acquiring the rights to the novel, which is the backbone of the plot. We kept that base, but Aly was given complete freedom to create as an authorial director and to develop the script the way he believed it should be.
The film won three awards at the Festival de Gramado. How do you feel about this recognition and what are your expectations for the award?
It is extremely gratifying to see that my first production as a film producer was awarded at the Festival de Gramado, one of the most important in the country. The film also received awards at other international festivals. I was very happy with this recognition, as I believe the film is an intelligent and unusual comedy. It was done with incredible light and incredible art direction, resulting in an elegant work. I consider that these awards are deserved and I am very happy with them.
“Jesus Kid” is a film that mixes comedy and drama. What was it like finding the balance between those two genres during production?
During production, we found the balance between comedy and drama through the script. Many scenes were already defined in the text, but funny moments also appeared during filming. I remember a scene where the three characters are in bed, me, Paulo Miklos and Mauro Miranda, and the director asked us to stay in a specific position, which turned out to be very funny. Paulo’s character, Nicolau, is almost hugging my character, giving the impression that I’m his teddy bear. This relationship is an important part of the plot, as my character, Jesus Kid, is like an imaginary hero for the protagonist Eugênio. Those elements of comedy and drama were already present in the script, but some things also came up during rehearsals and recording, which makes everything very magical.
In addition to acting and cultural production, you are also involved in the dermocosmetics business with Tukano. How do you juggle all these activities in your career?
It is not easy to reconcile all these activities. It requires a lot of dedication and focus. For example, even though I’m in Portugal theoretically on vacation, I can never completely disconnect. You always have to be working, either practicing or thinking of new ideas and projects to produce. Being an entrepreneur and artist in our country is not an easy task when you want to have some control over your career and create projects that are truly fulfilling in every way. But that’s part of the challenge, and even though it’s not easy, it’s rewarding. It’s part of my path.
What are the next steps for your career as a cultural producer? Do you already have other projects in mind?
I really want to go back to the stage and I have in mind to do a co-production between Brazil and Portugal in cinema. Also, I have three television projects in mind. One of them is a slightly more documental program, traveling the world in search of solutions and people who are making a difference in the environment to guarantee a better future for all of us. Another project is a reality show with influencers, and the third is an auditorium show with a sustainable footprint. Although it is aimed at entertainment, it touches on the issue of sustainability in the background.
How do you see the scenario of national film production today? What are the challenges and opportunities for Brazilian artists?
I believe we are in a great moment. We are going through a difficult period, perhaps the worst we have ever experienced, especially in the past government, which not only persecuted, but also criminalized culture and artists. Now, we are in a moment of reconstruction and resumption. I believe that the current government is fully aware of the importance of culture not only as an economy that generates jobs and money for the country, but also as a cultural “soft power” that can take Brazil to the world and build a positive image of the country . We see other countries, like the United States and Korea, using culture as a way to open doors and make people know and be interested in the country. A country without culture is a country without identity. Therefore, we are in that moment of resumption and reconstruction of Brazilian culture,
What is it like playing the character of Jesus Kid and what was the necessary preparation for this role?
Playing the Jesus Kid character was so much fun because he’s so different from me. As I mentioned before, I might never have been asked to play this character if I hadn’t produced the film, because people have preconceived ideas about the kind of character I can play. It was a deconstruction of Sérgio and it was very interesting. We had a meticulous characterization job, from the makeup to make the skin more blotchy and scarred, to the details of the costume.
We worked on the smallest details to deconstruct the glamorized image and make a dirtier and more ragged character. I put a cotton ball in my mouth to project my chin and I had a gold tooth. It was a collaborative process, with many people thinking about building this character. We rehearsed for a month before filming, defining the scenes, the movements and the character’s walk. The costumes were also fundamental to help with this transformation.
Body work was very important. I started doing bodywork a month and a half before rehearsals to find this cowboy’s posture and gestures. Gun handling training was also essential, as every cowboy has those scenes of pulling out the gun and turning it on the finger. It was one of the most difficult aspects as my finger is very thick and the gun was very tight for my finger size. I got tendonitis from training so much with the gun, but I was very happy with the result. Overall, it was a meticulous and collaborative work, with attention to detail and the construction of the character’s body and gestures. It was a very interesting experience and I am satisfied with the result.
Finally, what can audiences expect from the movie “Jesus Kid” and why is it worth watching?
The public can expect from “Jesus Kid” a comedy that is very different from anything that has been seen in Brazilian cinema until today. It is a comedy with absurd situations, but with a strong social and political critique. The humor is acidic and intelligent, with great performances. The film has an elegant visual texture, with striking colors. It’s not just because I was a part of the movie and I’m a producer, but I believe it’s a movie that needs to be seen.
“Jesus Kid” records forever a moment that we live in our country and that should never be forgotten, so that it doesn’t happen again. It is an unmissable comedy that performs the fundamental function of art, which is to entertain and, at the same time, question. The film records historic moments and all the absurdity we have experienced in the last four years. Without a doubt, it is a comedy not to be missed.
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