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Attendees of the Toledo, Spain-based forum got an exclusive preview of the pilot episode to the seven-part limited series, which is set to bow July 26 on Star Plus Latin America, Hulu in the U.S. and Disney’s Star label in the rest of the world.
“Santa Evita” anticipates more “true life fiction” shows that Star Plus is developing, based on larger-than-life figures in Latin America’s culture and history.
“We’re serving several markets, and in order to connect with our audiences, we’re developing stories about people they know, whose stories they know,” said Leonardo Aranguibel, VP, head of production operations & strategy, The Walt Disney Company Latin America, who lists projects based on Pancho Villa, a leader of the Mexican Revolution, Argentine heavyweight boxing champion Oscar ‘Ringo’ Bonavena and the newly announced “O Rei da TV,” a Gullane production about Silvio Santos, Brazilian entrepreneur, media tycoon and television host.
Another standout at Toledo, “Nada,” sneak-peeked in one excerpt, features Robert de Niro who makes special appearances on the first four episodes and guest stars in episode five.
The dramedy series created by Mariano Cohn and Gaston Duprat (“The Distinguished Citizen,” “Official Competition”) turns on a prominent food critic who depends on a woman who has served as a personal assistant-housekeeper-cook for decades. When he loses her, he hires a young Paraguayan lady, which leads to a clash of cultures and generations, and eventually to some valuable life lessons. De Niro plays a renowned American writer and long-time friend who witnesses the food critic’s life take this unexpected turn.
Speaking at the Conecta Fiction panel alongside Aranguibel, Mariana Pérez, head of general entertainment productions, The Walt Disney Company Latin America, said: “When we thought of who could play this American friend, we immediately thought of De Niro. We sought him out, sent him the scripts, he was intrigued and came to Argentina for a week; it was a wonderful experience,” said Perez, adding: “Once he said yes, the script changed a bit, he collaborated on the changes to expand his character a bit more.”
Aranguibel added: “Robert has not acted in a TV series as a character, he’s made a cameo on “30 Rock” but not as a character. It’s wonderful because it opens huge doors for us with other talent, with other countries, other companies.”
Based on the eponymous bestseller by Argentine journalist Tomás Eloy Martínez, “Santa Evita” follows the surreal fate of the embalmed body of Eva Perón, the charismatic wife of Argentine President Juan Domingo Peron, after her death in 1952. After it remained unburied for three years while a monument was being completed, a military coup overthrew Perón. In order to prevent Eva Peron’s body from becoming a symbol of opposition, the military regime hid her embalmed body for years. “It was taken to Germany, Italy and other places before it was finally returned to Peron wh
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