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Brazilian Director Afonso Poyart Aiming to Make Splash in U.S. With Anthony Hopkins Film 'Solace'

Afonso Poyart Headshot - P 2012
Afonso Poyart

The helmer hopes to build on the success of his debut feature "2 Rabbits," which is slated for an American remake.

Brazilian director Afonso Poyart has been building a name for himself internationally, from his first feature film, 2 Rabbits (2 Coelhos), which will be remade by Sony, to his first directorial effort in Hollywood, Solace, starring Anthony Hopkins.

Poyart, who is more familiar working in commercials for more than 15 years, made his directorial debut with 2 Rabbits, which he also co-wrote and starred in. The action movie, which recently had its U.S. premiere at the Los Angeles Brazilian Film Festival, was released in Brazil on Jan. 20 in more than 200 theaters and quickly became a hit.

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The box office success of 2 Rabbits in Brazil made Poyart’s international career take off. Producer Brent Travers watched the trailer of the film in Sundance and met with the director in Brazil. After that, Travers became his manager and Poyart signed with UTA.

The film, which hasn’t found a U.S distributor yet, was picked up by Sony for a remake last May.

“I got some great feedback from some people in the industry in Hollywood, and some of them are interested in the original film for U.S. distribution,” Poyart told The Hollywood Reporter.

2 Rabbits, which stars Brazilian actors Alessandra Negrini and Caco Ciocler, is a frenetic action film that follows Edgar (Fernando Alves Pinto), who, after getting in trouble in a car accident, hatches a plan to steal a public safe along with a corrupt politician and a gangster.

Negrini, a well-respected actress in Brazil who has been in many films as well as on TV, attended the U.S. premiere and spoke to THR about her experience with the project. In the film, Negrini portraits a corrupt prosecutor who is tired of the criminal life and longs for a normal life.

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“I was really happy to be part of this project because Afonso was a beginner director and it was his first directorial project," she said. "Also, the script was really good. 2 Rabbits is a very creative movie, very different."

As for her collaboration promoting the Brazilian cinema overseas, Negrini said: "It is very important that we have a Brazilian festival in Los Angeles, bringing our culture outside and showing our cinema for the world.”

Recently, Poyart has been booked to direct his first international film, the paranormal thriller, Solace, starring Hopkins as a psycho who is hired by the FBI to look for a killer. The screenplay was adapted by Peter Morgan (The Queen, Frost/Nixon) and production is set to begin by January.

Poyart read about 70 scripts before falling in love with Solace. In addition, he got excited to work with Hopkins -- whom he had a dream to work with one day -- who was already attached to the project.

“Besides that, it was a intelligent, well-written script by Peter Morgan, it had a possibility for me to practice the visual part, and it was the perfect combination of structure and stories with strong characters," Poyart said. "I would like that my first international movie contemplate this."

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The director and his manager Travers are planning to develop co-productions between Brazil and the U.S, and help convince U.S. studios to shoot in Brazil for a cheaper price.