Armando Bo: “The world of football for me is a parody in itself”

The filmmaker, screenwriter and producer Armando Bo presented this Friday the second season of Presidentthe Amazon Prime Video production that in a comedy and satire tone portrays the network of corruption behind FIFA, and that in this new installment travels to the past to tell the story of how the Brazilian João Havelange managed to appropriate the governing body of football world and transform it into the multi-billion dollar empire it is today.

“The world of football for me is a parody in itself,” he told the news agency Telam the maker of the last elvis (2012) and Oscar winner for the screenplay of Birdman (2014), here director and showrunner. It is that this second season, which bears the full title of President. The corruption game and although it is set in another era and with a different cast, it maintains the humorous approach of the first.

While the original season (2020) followed the aforementioned FIFA Gate affair, its most relevant events and characters through the eyes of the small Chilean leader Sergio Jadue (Andrés Parra, in one more of his chameleonic transformations), the new episodes transfer the action at the beginning of the trap.

After the World Cup in England in 1966, Havelange (played by the Portuguese Albano Jerónimo) was just another South American leader, subjected to the designs of an International Federation completely dominated by European associations. After the physical abuse suffered by Pelé in that World Cup event and the early elimination of the then two-time champion, the Brazilian became obsessed with tilting the balance of power in the opposite direction.

Little by little and with everything against him, postponing his personal life and his loved ones, the leader begins a campaign to gain control. The key: to obtain the support of the majority of the less relevant countries in the soccer concert. There will be hilarious stories, inspired by real events, such as the exhausting African tour in a proselytizing key of the Brazilian team that won the World Cup in Mexico in 1970.

Colombian Parra’s Sergio Jadue returns for the new season, this time as an accomplice narrator/ghostly figure who will guide the viewer through Havelange’s labyrinth on the way to power.

Produced by Bo himself through his About Entertainment production company, along with Gaumont, Fábula and Kapow, the cast of The corruption game it is completed by Anna Brewster, Carol Abras, Nelson Freitas, Polliana Aleixo, Isadora Ferrite, Leonardo Cidade, Leandro Firmino, Demétrio Nascimento Alves, Fabio Aste and Phillippe Jacq.

As part of the talk, the prominent director spoke about the continuation of this story and if he always knew it would be a kind of prequel: “The truth is that the idea of ​​the second season came up when we were filming the first. It seemed that it worked and they came to ask me what I imagined, and the idea came to me why not tell the beginning of the world of corruption. At a time when the sport was managed by Europeans, this Brazilian decides to start this battle against the windmills, and manages to conquer power and invent the system that manages soccer; this that the power has the small teams. History portrays that discovery of Havelange, that by relying on African countries he could unseat the Europeans from FIFA. Havelange was a guy who negotiated with all the military dictatorships, who never cared much about anything other than transcending and how to grow that business that he saw behind and that we all consume. And boy did he do it.”

Jadue was a point of entry into this inviting world through the gaze of a fainthearted. Havelange, meanwhile, is a different kind of man. In this sense, Bo spoke about the difficulties that this type of protagonist entailed: “One of the great challenges was how to maintain the tone of the series from the first season, of that Greek tragedy that Jadue lives and that had humor naturally. And Havelange’s story was not so humorous; it was drier, harsher, more informative; it was quite difficult to find how to tell the story of someone who was in power for a long time. The guy died at the age of 101 and the first idea was that if he had died at the age of 98 he would not have seen the FIFA Gate. That is why the series begins with its 100-year celebration to which no one goes, which seemed very absurd to me.”

The director and producer also spoke about what curiosities he discovered in this work process: “I knew what I think anyone who likes football knows, which is that he handled FIFA, invented it, exploited it and made it grow. In a way that I think it also did positive things. In other words, it unified, it gave opportunities to many countries; I don’t think he did it because he was a good guy, but because that brought volume and business. I learned a lot, and also in some way I was able to go through the 70s, travel to Africa and see how this guy using Pelé managed to conquer and get closer to the African leaders. Somehow I managed to travel to the 78 World Cup and see how Videla and Massera squeezed Havelange and him without caring about anything”.

Regarding why they decided to change the focus of the narrator, since Grondona (Luis Margani) used to narrate, who was a man who could tell from the knowledge of having been there, the creator said: “The world of football for me is a parody in herself; I am a football fan but at the same time everything that happens around football is very difficult for me, so the idea that the protagonist of season 1, who was Sergio Jadue, this little corrupt man from Chile tells the story of the great creator of the Great Corruption seemed very absurd to me and I think it gives a touch of humor to this whole story, it helped me paint the series of a parodic world, taking it a little to the extremes. The irony of Don Julio having died just as the FIFA Gate exploded was very good for Season 1, but at the same time having someone wrong like Jadue tell Havelange’s story, someone Havelange would never have hired, it’s hilarious.” .

The director also spoke about the media and public blackout regarding the FIFA Gate: “I think it is very ironic that season 1 was about how the FIFA Gate exploded for the Qatar Cup and that today we are premiering season 2 with the Qatar Cup. Qatar happening and it hasn’t changed that much. I think it is something very interesting to relate at this time that we are about to go to this World Cup. Obviously, the only thing that matters is that Argentina win, right? But at the same time you can’t not look at the things that happen from behind”.

Since the first season, the grandson of the legendary director Armando Bo founded his production company, About, with which he made this series and others that are in development. And at this same time the streaming universe finished growing with the appearance of several new players. In that plane, he finally spoke about what he finds in the series as a narrative format: “It is very difficult to achieve quality in so many hours of content. I mean, eight hours of content is a lot, it’s like four movies, it has a lot of productive challenges. I think also the streamers in these years realized that not everything has to be filmed; there was like an explosion of filming, of trying to fill in hours of content of whatever and I think they realized that people don’t react to anything. That things have a time, that the themes that are chosen are important to achieve relevance. I think it’s a time where there’s a shift in the world of streaming, where they’re clearly looking again, and saying “what do we want to tell and why? And what can connect with audiences? If not, it is already doing to do”.

Armando Bo: “The world of football for me is a parody in itself”