BlackBox Multimedia and Boutique Filmes have signed a co-production deal for Nemesis, a series based on investigative reporter and historian Misha Glenny’s book Nemesis: One Man and the Battle for Rio.

Glenny, known for hit BBC series McMafia starring James Norton, will also write the series.

The story is based on the gritty true-life story of Antonio Francisco Lopes, who went from an unassuming, a poorly paid man in Rio de Janeiro to “Nem”, the king of one of Rio’s biggest slums and Brazil’s most wanted criminal. Seen as a Robin Hood figure by the poor, but hated by the Brazilian elite, the series tells the story of a man driven to crime when he is forced to find the money to pay the medical bills for his seriously sick daughter. The series includes a fictionalized English character based on Misha’s story.

Nemesis is a true story as lived by Glenny, creating a narrative that has both a global yet very local feel. To write the book, Glenny divided his time between Brazil and London, living for several months in Rocinha, the favela at the heart of this story. Glenny conducted over 200 hours of interviews with all the major and minor players, and over 30 hours of interviews at the Maximum-Security Federal Penitentiary with “Nem” himself.

Giuliano Papadia, CEO and Creative Director of BlackBox Multimedia, says “We’re always looking for stories with a strong local heart but that will speak to audiences all over the world. It’s about striking a balance between authenticity and universality, and when we read NEMESIS we knew we had found both. Nem’s story is a Brazilian story, but it is also the story of a father, of a family, of a community. We’re excited to partner with the team at Boutique Filmes and with Misha Glenny and bring this series to Brazil and to the world. ”

Gustavo Mello, Executive Producer and co-owner of Boutique Filmes, comments “It’s a unique opportunity be able to produce a local story with such a powerful international angle and be leaned by a hit maker as Misha. It’s a bold approach, that goes beyond other series that takes place in Brazilian slums, a deep dive into one of the most intriguing and ambiguous Brazilian characters.  We couldn’t be happier to have BlackBox partner with us on this huge production”.

Misha Glenny, author of Nemesis and writer of the series, comments “Nem’s story is one of the most extraordinary examples of human courage and frailty I have ever encountered in a single person. It demonstrates that even in a brutal environment, we are guided by an inherent morality which prefers good over evil. But where it can still be impossible to make the right choices. From the minute I started talking to them, it was clear BlackBox and Boutique understood exactly what the human dimensions of Nem’s incredible story are. It is a joy to be working with them.”

Jon Creamer

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