EXCLUSIVE: A Portuguese-Brazilian drama series about the romance of two 17th Century soldiers is in development.
Land of Shadows will follow their blossoming but forbidden love during the 17th Century, when Brazil was a colony of the Kingdom of Portugal. It’s based on No País das Sombras, a novel from Emmy winner and telenovela writer Aguinaldo Silva, who is supervising the text adaptation and will be executive producer.
Director is Pedro Vasconcelos, who won an International Emmy for Brazilian net Globo’s 2014-15 series Império (Empire), which was also from Silva. Luiz Felipe Petruccelli is the writer of Land of Shadows and Diosual Entertainment the producer.
The show’s set in Olinda, a Brazilian village, during in the Captaincy of Pernambuco in 1604 and 1605, and reveals how the soldiers’ equality puts them in opposition to Portugal’s Holy Office of the Inquisition. Side plots will include the persecution of New Christians, abuses against women and the romance between the wife of a sugar cane plantation lord and one of his slaves.
We understand around 70% of the production will take place in Portugal, which is beginning to emerge as a drama producing territory to watch, with the other 30%. The show will have a large Brazilian and Portuguese cast but be shot completely in English. Production is expected to begin early next year, though no streamer or network is attached at this stage.
“We endeavored to envelop the love between our protagonists in a lyrical setting that would awaken the same level of empathy in the audience as would any other story starring a heterosexual couple,” said Guto Colunga, who is the show’s general producer.
“We want the viewers to feel more than the virility we associate with Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist in Brokeback Mountain in our two Portuguese soldiers, we want them to experience the beauty, purity and intensity that is so clear in Romeo and Juliet’s romance.”
Colunga is CEO and founder of Brazilian producer Diosual Entertainment, which comprises film division Diosual Pictures Studios and Diosual Television Studios. The company is focused on Brazilian projects with international appeal.