The magazine FILME B interviewed director Paulo Morelli during Comic Con Experience 2016 in December, and he talked about his new feature film Malasartes e o Duelo com a Morte (Malasartes and the Duel with Death).

The film was written and directed by Paulo Morelli and stars Jesuíta Barbosa, Ísis Valverde, Vera Holtz, Leandro Hassum, Julio Andrade and Milhem Cortaz.

It tells the story of Pedro Malasartes, a traditional figure in Portuguese and Brazilian culture, who faces a dilemma: to be immortal and take the place of Death, or return to life as a mortal. The production takes place in various country locations in São Paulo and also features 3D and special effects that mix reality with the magical world of this playful character. Malasartes will have the most special effects of any feature film in the history of Brazilian cinema.

Malasartes e o Duelo com a Morte Teaser from O2 Filmes on Vimeo.

Here’s an excerpt from his interview in Filme B:

Malasartes is a very popular character in Brazilian folklore and has already been played by Mazzaropi [The Adventures of Pedro Malasartes] in 1960. Where did you get the idea to do a new production?

In 1986, we [cineastes Paulo Morelli, Fernando Meirelles, Marcelo Machado and José Roberto Salatini] had a production company called Olhar Eletrônico (Electronic Look), and at the time I had an urge to do a TV series about Brazilian folklore. I began to research and came across Malasartes. I immediately fell in love with the character, because he has something that’s essentially Brazilian: he’s very smart and crafty, but he also has a good heart and is somewhat naive. For me, being a con-artist but also somewhat naive is the perfect balance and has a lot to do with Brazil at that time. Today, the con-artists are more cynical and Brazil is changing, but I think that he [Malasartes] is part of Brazilian DNA.

Malasartes and the Duel with Death is a first for Brazilian cinema, because it’s essentially a post-production film. What was it like to manage a budget of almost R$ 10 million for a production like this?

Perhaps the word stressful is a little bit appropriate (laughs). I’m joking, we knew from the start that that’s the way it would be, so we allocated a significant amount of money for the special effects which are being done by O2 Filmes itself, but it’s stressful because it starts to become bigger than you can plan for. I believe that there’s never been a film with so many special effects in Brazil – there are over 700 scenes. This means having to give up some things, because you can’t do everything. There has to be some discipline. What’s helped us a lot in getting to the finish line has been that Globo is creating a serialized version of the film for TV, and with this we managed to get some help for the post-production budget.”

Read the entire interview HERE.