Rui vilhena



Keywords: rui vilhena
Description: The success of the soap operas he wrote in Portugal made him cross the Atlantic to work at TV Globo. In Rio de Janeiro, between the sun and the Portuguese paving stones, the scriptwriter feels at

The success of the soap operas he wrote in Portugal made him cross the Atlantic to work at TV Globo. In Rio de Janeiro, between the sun and the Portuguese paving stones, the scriptwriter feels at home.

Born in Mozambique 51 years ago, Rui Vilhena moved to Brazil while still young, and studied Social Communication in Rio de Janeiro. In the early 1990s he went to the United States, where he specialized in scriptwriting, attending several courses in Los Angeles. His professional career saw him spend the next 18 years in Portugal, writing some of the most successful television drama in the country. Since 2005, Rui has won over audiences with his soap operas on TVI channel, including Tempo de Viver and Sedução. RTP and SIC, the other two main Portuguese TV networks, also commissioned work by Rui, who apart from soaps and series, has created various films for television and entertainment programmes. He was responsible for the TV adaption of the novel Equador by Miguel Sousa Tavares, and for supervising the first remake of the Portuguese TV history, Vila Faia (2008). He has also worked as a trainer, giving scriptwriting workshops, and as a creative director of the company Scriptmakers. He has made several incursions into theatre and his first book, Doces Tormentas, published in 2010, will be adapted for cinema. Famous in Portugal for the quality of his texts and for his search for controversial themes depicting contemporary society, Rui Vilhena caught the attention of Aguinaldo Silva, one of the most important writers of TV fiction in Brazil. It was through the “master” that he received an invitation to work at TV Globo, collaborating on a script for the peak-time series Fina Estampa. And so after 30 years, Rui went back to live in Rio, where he feels “completely at home”.

Based in Leblon since last September, Rui had no trouble adapting: “I find it very easy to acclimatize and am lucky to live in the best neighbourhood in Rio de Janeiro, Leblon. I really like it here, everything is handy, I get around everywhere on foot. It’s a beautiful area and very convenient. I think living in a place you like is fundamental to feeling good”. Although work is a priority and is the reason he moved back to Brazil, Rui is looking to “make maximum use of his time”. “Writing a soap which is on air for months running means a daily effort of around 12 hours. It’s not only writing. We have to prepare the scripts, attend filming, follow the actors’ performances, contact the production team; in fact, it’s really hard work.” But, as compensation… “As soon as I finish work, I switch off the computer and leave the house. I love walking the streets and getting involved in people’s day-to-day lives.”

It all has to do with being in a city full of sun and energy. I always wake up early, at 6 am. I read the papers on the internet and only after that do I have coffee and go to the gym. I try and combine the time I spend writing with other activities. I go out a lot at night because the cultural life is intense and, because of my profession, I need to keep up to date. I go to the theatre a lot, to the cinema and to musicals. I think that, in that way, I have fitted in pretty quickly. I left 30 years ago, but it seems I’ve only been away a week.

This area has the best bookstores and the best theatres in the city. I particularly like going to the Livraria da Travessa, in Leblon mall. I can spend hours in there, browsing the new titles and drinking cappuccino… I also love the Teatro Leblon, which has three different stages named after great actresses: Marília Pêra, Fernanda Montenegro and Tônia Carrero. They have a varied programme, with rotating performances that offer you alternatives to see the latest plays, always very good. Another venue I appreciate in Leblon is the Teatro Casagrande. I usually go to London three times a year and at least once to New York just for the shows.

To the beach, no question! The first thing to do is drink some coconut juice or a caipirinha on the seafront and walk along the esplanade, to feel the spirit of Rio. Everything that matters in Rio happens on the beach. It’s where you find out what went on the previous night and what’s going on today and tomorrow. The beach is where Rio folk socialize. That’s why, when it rains on Rio, you get the feeling that there’s nothing to do.

Rio de Janeiro really is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Like any tourist, I never tire of admiring its natural beauty. You only have to go to the edge of Leblon and admire the Morro Dois Irmãos at the end of the beach. There are special landscapes, like the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, or Corcovado and the Aterro do Flamengo, in front of the Sugar Loaf.

Apart from the buildings in the historic centre, which are similar in terms of architecture, there is the Arcos da Lapa and the Portuguese paving stones (which are a great success!). There are also the problems with politicians. I can’t find many more similarities. Even with regard to the people, I think Rio residents are more similar to the Italians than the Portuguese.

I don’t miss it that much. I don’t really feel very far away; I am just having a break in Rio. I miss my wife, Denise, the family, friends, my dog, Baco. But we are always in contact. As I live in Estoril, I also miss walking along the front in Cascais. Or white wine with clams… Ah! And the beach at Meco! But these are passing things, I know I’ll soon be back in Portugal.






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