Actor Miguel Guilherme received a proposal to make the new series on RTP1 Race Horses and as soon as he read the first scripts he realized: “I have to do this”. This could be a calling card for the series by André Santos and Marco Leão, which premieres on Wednesday at 9 pm; the other is to say that this is a direct flight to 1981, Portugal in fleas and with a locksmith and his girlfriend doing small robberies to fulfill their big dream — a beautiful house. But Miguel Guilherme complicates their game, raises the bar and a gang is born.
There will be three series of national fiction or Portuguese co-production that the public station will air when it debuts horses of racing — and no, the UHF theme is not in the credits, but it is a symbol. “Our characters are all racehorses”, explains Marco Leão to PÚBLICO, “and they will only stop when they reach the finish line. Run over whoever you have to pass. But with conscience.”
With a cast headed by Tomás Alves, Teresa Tavares and Miguel Guilherme, who are quickly joined by Filipa Areosa, Maria João Pinho, João Vicente and Soraia Chaves, Race Horses there will be eight episodes always opening. At least judging by the first one, presented to the press. “We want the series to be explosive”, says André Santos, who shares with March Lion the authorship of the story, the arguments and the realization of the new entry in the list of national series with pedigree movie.
The duo has been making short films for over 15 years, orbiting in part what lives in the close circle of family and friends, and after the series Red lightrevives memories of the decade in which it was born — both are from the 1984 vintage. Race Horses it’s not that different for André Santos and Marco Leão who, from religion to freedom, will draw on everyone around them to give heart to this series.
André Santos talks about the Opel Corsa of his parents, the music, the iconography, makes parallels with the IMF intervention at the time and a decade ago and how “things are not that different. We wanted to look to the past but reflect on the present, exactly where we are now – a giant housing crisis”, he points out. “The thing I wanted most was to be able to buy a house, which is exactly what our protagonists, Domingos (Alves) and Olinda (Tavares), most want.” They rob houses and are enticed by Miguel Guilherme, the mysterious Orlando, to steal something else.
This is a series about a dream, but with eyes wide open to crime and the current skills of a good television story. Rhythm, photography, intentional camera, pragmatism — they couldn’t make an action movie, full of explosions. “That’s why we have to think of something ingenious and intelligent”, explains Marco Leão, with lower budgetary expectations. One “heist movie”about a coup, but in series?
“[As personagens] they are not the stereotype of superhumans, before which life has no value”, explains Marco Leão. It also talks about westernsbut he is interested in talking about “collective crimes, about issues like fatherhood, like love”, several stories literally shooting in different narrative directions.
Miguel Guilherme, moments before sitting down for the premiere of the episode in a space close to the National Pantheon, in Lisbon, speaks of the message that started it all. “Near to email inviting me, still without a fee or anything like that, came the arguments for the first three episodes and a letter of intent from two people” who I didn’t know, he reminds PÚBLICO, and for whom he now only has praise. “Writing was different,” he emphasizes. Resists explaining in what. “More imaginative”, he agrees, “there is no ‘imitating Hollywood’ thing”. He praises the sequence of scenes and the dialogues. “I read all three in one sitting. It’s a good sign.”
That’s how he saw himself as a mentor to thieves. “All of them are little thieves”, until Orlando arrives to join them and, with the assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II and the hope of entering the EEC (now the European Union) framing the plot, they commit the great crime of dreaming high. Maybe too much. Your destiny tospoilers” (disclosures about the plot) belongs, but the locksmith and the pretty crook, the aspiring singer and the man with two jobs, the woman counting the days to ovulate and the survivor of domestic violence are at risk, there they are.
Produced by Ukbar Filmes and with music by Xinobi, Race Horses will also be available on the streaming free RTP Play, every Wednesday at 12h.