“Did I say something that will compromise me?”
This is how Susana Vieira concludes the conversation in which she traces the superlative career built over the last sixty years. As soon as I arrived at the theater where she received the report, she apologised.
First, for showing up a few minutes later than agreed: “it’s just that my flight was delayed and the airport was worse than the bus station”.
Then, because she was tired: “I took lessons on the indigenous people, the miners, for my next soap opera, because now Globo has decided to help the minorities”.
But he immediately tried to clarify that he wasn’t complaining about anything — “I have to thank you, Globo has sent away so many people that, if they asked me to clean Roberto Marinho’s office, I would.”
Susana defines herself as a television “worker”, willing to play any character the broadcaster wants. However, most of her roles, or at least her most striking ones, bear similarities to herself. They are exuberant and fierce women.
This is the case of Branca Letícia de Barros Mota, from “Por Amor”, who Susana says, without batting an eye, is her favorite character in the story. Branca had as her most striking feature the lack of popes in her language. She was, like Susana, a diva in her own way.
Shirley Valentine, the character who gives her name to the play that takes the actress to São Paulo, is, in a sense, an anomaly. With a bow on her head and a dress that looks more like “a tablecloth”, as Susana defines it, Shirley is “a woman of bad taste” and “with no self-esteem”.
In the monologue, written by the British Willy Russel and adapted by Miguel Falabella, Shirley sees in a marital crisis the opportunity to fulfill her old dream of traveling to Greece and then glimpses what she might be experiencing, were it not for her marriage.
The experience of marital crises is one of the few points in common between Shirley and Susana. Besides dating, the actress has been married at least three times. Her last marriage, to military policeman Marcelo Silva, in the late 2000s, was her most troubled.
This is because Silva, kicked out of the house after Susana discovered he was cheating on her, allegedly stole jewels and appliances from the actress, as well as breaking into her safe, hijacking her bank account, threatening to kill her employees and recording a video of she taking a bath, for which he asked for R $ 500 thousand.
It was this toxic relationship, however, that made her one of the forerunners of memes. After breaking her months-long home quarantine against the paparazzi, Susana was interviewed by the extinct Pânico program at a party and, by responding about how she would “turn around”, she created one of the biggest Brazilian internet memes.
“Baby, look at my face and see if I’m sad,” she says, redoing and explaining the meme. “Look at my beauty, look at my skin. My hair? Eight thousand reais. It was a megahair. My salary at Globo? Up there. A son who is vice president of Sony know where? In Miami. A six-story house, four dogs who love me. Why should I be sad?”
The relationship with Silva, who died of an overdose a few months after breaking up with the actress, has generated another viral video. “The person was a demon and died. I said that it was God who took him off the Earth. It has been proven that, above me, only God. No one is more powerful than God and me,” says Susana, explaining a ‘another one of his most memorable memes.
From then on it never stopped. It was as if fans on the net had rediscovered Susana. Since then, old interviews have been saved in which the actress reveals enviable levels of self-esteem.
“Sometimes I look in the mirror when I’m about to take my makeup off and I’m like, ‘Oh my god, I have beautiful skin, I look beautiful.’ There are four dogs waiting for me in bed alone,” she says.
While each of her replies seem like potential memes, Susana is more than the comedic character that has gone viral on social media. Who underlines it is Tony Ramos, one of her longest-lasting collaborators.
“When people see Susana communicative, they may forget what a spectacular actress she is. She ranges from great romantics to absolute villains, wife to sister,” he says. “Susana doesn’t mask feelings. By emotion, I don’t mean shedding tears. Emotion is when every pore speaks to the soul of the character. She does it brilliantly.”
The actor’s vision echoes that of Mauro Alencar, a doctor of television drama from the University of São Paulo who has just written a biography of Susana, which is scheduled for release in the middle of this year. He divides the actress’s roles into two cores: those steeped in romance, seen more frequently early in her career, and those based on social commentary, which survive to this day.
Alencar says Susana’s characters capitalized on the shifts in women’s roles. You give the example of Cândida de Souza, from “Escalada”, a serial by Lauro César Muniz aired in 1975, during the government of Ernesto Geisel.
Cândida wants a divorce, but divorce was a forbidden subject by the censors of the military dictatorship. For the specialist, the character played a key role in the legalization of divorce, which would happen two years later.
Alencar, who also studied Susana’s career to write the book “A Hollywood Brasileira: Panorama da Telenovela no Brasil”, also remembers Claudia, from “Duas Vidas”, which aired in 1976 and 1977. Created by Janet Clair, the character was one of the first women in Brazilian television to run a major company — a record label inspired by Som Livre, which the character takes over after the death of her husband, who was the heir to the company.
Of the more than 80 characters the actress has played on television alone, Alencar says she’s afraid she’ll forget a major role. But you also mention Veridiana Gurgel, who was critical of multinationals in “Os Gigantes”. The serial, screened in 1979, was so inconvenient for the censorship of the dictatorship that it led to the dismissal of its author, Lauro César Muniz, from Globo.
Alencar also recalls Marina Steen —from “A Sucessora”, from 1978, written by Manoel Carlos—, in which Susana plays a poor young woman raised to madame by marriage, as well as the nanny Nice, from “Anjo Mau”, written by Cassiano Gabus Mendes aired two years earlier.
Based on the nanny capable of committing any atrocity to grow up in life, the plot was about social mobility in one of the country’s greatest poverty periods, which Susana did again in “Senhora do Destino”, by Aguinaldo Silva.
Among the first to focus on the wealth of the southern area to explore the misery of Rio de Janeiro in the north, the telenovela was screened in 2004 and 2005, during the first Lula government, a moment of attempted reform of the country.
Dramaturgy aside, Susana prefers not to discuss politics, in a position different from the one adopted by most of Globo’s notorious bigwigs, such as Regina Duarte and Cássia Kis, supporters of Bolsonaro, or José de Abreu and Vera Holtz, supporters of Lula .
In a green and yellow T-shirt emblazoned with the face of former judge Sergio Moro, the actress attended demonstrations for the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff in 2016. Although she prefers silence today, she has said in interviews in recent years that she aver was against corruption and PT, but did not campaign for Jair Bolsonaro or support his government.
“I have a publicist who knows everything I can and can’t say,” she says. “Can you give an example?” asks the reporter. “I won’t set an example because I prefer not to touch topics that aren’t important today, which is the day of my play. This is much more important than what happens in Brasilia,” says the actress.
“Are you afraid of disturbing?”, asks the journalist again. “That’s not why. It’s because I’m here that I do theater, I do television, I paid for a plane ticket, I’ve given work to many people, so I feel Brazilian and proud. Anyone who doesn’t do their job up there is their problem. The government doesn’t help art. There is no politician who goes to the theater, so we don’t depend on them. Anyone can enter there. They won’t ruin the country. As long as the culture and the artists are alive, Brazil will continue”.
If it’s up to Susana, it will continue for a long time. Not intending to retire, the actress says she is aware that, at the age of 80, which she completed in August last year, she will hardly be called upon to star in a soap opera, which she attributes to ageism, a beautiful and little-known name that is given prejudice against the elderly. But she guarantees, adding one exclamation point after another, that it doesn’t bother her.
“The most common insult in this country, apart from partisan struggles, is to call me old. They think they are offending me! Who is the poor young man who wins a Nobel Prize? ‘? Calling me an old asshole, wondering if this old woman isn’t dead, is the greatest insult. But it doesn’t offend me, because I’m old, but I don’t think I’m old, ”he says.
“Young people are inexperienced, so the best roles are ours. The couple is there, kissing, having sex, writing a lot, but we go into two scenes and assemble the chapter,” he adds.
Age doesn’t really seem to be an issue, even in addition to your health condition. Seven years ago, the actress was diagnosed with incurable leukemia. The disease is under control, but routine has changed, especially during the pandemic. If your immunity decreases, you should resume chemotherapy. That’s why she says she doesn’t go to parties, events or even the theater if she has to be in the audience.
But on stage, nothing can stop the actress. One day after this interview, Susana fell down a hole and broke her left foot. Even with an orthopedic boot, she made it through three performances that weekend. She said she would perform seated, but a few minutes later she was already standing, crossing the stage from one end to the other, as if nothing was her.
Back in Rio de Janeiro, he continued rehearsals for the next telenovela, “Terra Vermelha”, the one he mentioned at the beginning of this interview, about “agribusiness and the power of landowners”, written by Walcyr Carrasco and still without a debut.
After almost three years stuck at home, Susana now works Monday to Monday. She wakes up early, she attends Globo’s virtual classes, she goes to the studio after lunch and, on Friday, she takes a flight to perform in São Paulo. With a broken foot. But none of that matters, she says.
“I was finishing up the year, with Globo getting rid of some of the cast, so I thought ‘what am I going to do now?’. I’m not going to sell anything, because I don’t know how to sell anything. Not even my body. I’m going to live. I accepted everyone the roles, the ones I wanted and the ones I didn’t. I’ve dated whoever did and who didn’t. But I suck milk off a rock. I don’t sit around waiting.”
#Susana #Vieira #Meme #Queen #Villains #Aura #video