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Bet you thought Andrucha Waddington is a woman. He isn’t. Bet you think he’s English. He isn’t. Andrew L. Urban phoned him in Rio de Janeiro for a chat about his latest film, Me You Them, a story of a woman who acquires three husbands. Bet you think he made it up . . . he didn’t.

Andrucha’s mum is Russian, hence his first name (Andrew to you and me), but his great-grandfather migrated to Brazil from England…hence the Waddington family name. As for Me You Them, it is ‘freely inspired by’ a story he saw featured on a Brazilian tv program in the mid 90s.

"she has the face"

"I spent four years working on the script with [screenplay writer] Elena Soárez," he says from his home in Rio. "When I saw that story, the first person I thought of to play the part was Regina Casé – she has the face." Indeed, and what a face it is, not only famous but revered in Brazil. Described by a leading Brazilian composer as "one of the greatest artists in Brazil," Regina Casé is idolized as if she were a benign force of nature.

A Rio native, like Andrucha, she has been in showbiz for more than 20 years, first on stage and later on tv and in films. In the 1980’s Regina Casé conquered Brazilian tv – which is huge – as Tina Pepper, one of the most popular characters in the long and extensive history of Brazilian soap operas. But there is much more – and in Me You Them, the actress demonstrates all her qualities as both powerful yet sensitive, assertive yet all woman. Her creation of Darlene, a woman in the poverty stricken Northeast of Brazil, who acquires three husbands, is sublime.

"We wanted to make her real and make audiences believe the story," says Waddington, himself a native of Rio. The script went through several different incarnations, fromwestern to thriller and comedy. But finally we went back to the original feeling and tone. It’s about human beings and as natural as it could be. The challenge was to make Darlene a real person and for us to believe her story."

Waddington and his cast succeed brilliantly; the tone is naturalistic but not heavy handed, light but not frivolous.

"The films I like are those where you really believe the character"

Making films since he was 18, Waddington is a multi-award winning music video director. He made feature films in the mid 80s, but the crisis and collapse of the Brazilian feature film industry forced him back to music videos, documentaries and "hundreds" of tv commercials.

"The films I like are those where you really believe the character," says Waddington. "It doesn’t matter what sort of film you’re making, character is the most important. If you don’t do that, you’ll have a shitty film."

Published November 15, 2001

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