One of the great advantages of having so many outlets and ways to create content and distribute it to the world is that creators who see something lacking in current programming can go out, create their own series, and find a place to share it. That’s exactly how the Brazilian web series RED came about, when writer and co-creator Germana Belo noticed a lack of LGBTQ representation in the programming available in her country. RED, Season 4 is now available on demand and will premiere worldwide on Tuesday, June 12 on Vimeo, tells the story of two actresses who fall in love in real life after filming a short film in which they play lovers.
Over the course of three seasons thus far, viewers have seen the married Mel (Luciana Bollina) fall in love with Liz (Ana Paula Lima), who is struggling with a drug problem. Season 3 saw a pregnant Mel, separated from her husband, and worried that Liz would reject her because of her pregnancy. Meanwhile, Liz kept slipping deeper into her drug addiction. By the end, Mel had a miscarriage in the Season 3 finale.
If you’re anything like us here at The TV Junkies, then you’ve been eagerly looking forward to see where Belo, writer Viv Schiller and director Fernando Belo take RED in Season 4. So we recently caught up with Germano Belo to discuss a little where the idea for RED came from and what kind of complications Mel and Liz may face in Season 4 of the series that so far has over 5 million views in 145 countries around the world.
The TV Junkies: First things first, even though we’re headed into Season 4, can you talk a little bit about where the idea for RED came from and why you wanted to tell this story?
Germana Belo: Noticing the lack of content with LGBTQ+ representation in Brazilian media, Viv (Schiller) and I started talking about creating something that we, as viewers, would like to watch. We wanted to tell a love story between two women, addressed in a way that felt natural and real; a story that LGBTQ+ women, like us, could watch and relate to and feel represented by.
As for the plot itself, there’s a common fantasy among lesbian/bi fans of actresses becoming a couple in real life after playing love interests, and we thought it was a good idea telling a story with this concept.
TTVJ: Mel and Liz have really gone from this forbidden love and secret relationship in early seasons to actually trying to make it as a couple. Where are they at in their relationship in Season 4?
GB: Season 4 picks up in the aftermath of Mel’s miscarriage and the start of a new level of commitment between Mel and Liz. They are at a place where there’s nothing/no one between them anymore, still, like every couple, they will be dealing with conflicts and struggles that people have to deal when they decide to be together. As the season progresses, we will find out that the thing that could break them apart lives within themselves and the dynamic of their relationship itself, not in the outside.
TTVJ: Speaking of that relationship, as mentioned it’s gone through a lot of ups and downs. What are some of the challenges in writing that evolving relationship?
GB: I think the greatest challenge is to succeed in making it real and believable; writing it in a way that people can relate to it or empathize with the situation. And manage to do so without losing sight of each character’s own development.
TTVJ: Luciana and Ana are really strong in their roles. What kind of benefit is that for you as a writer to know you have two such strong performers to work with?
GB: The main benefit is trusting that whatever we write they can deliver, and knowing that we don’t have to worry about that. But also, they make so many contributions to our work. There’s a lot about Mel and Liz that came from Lu and Ana, not from us. Since the first day on set, they have been writing their characters with their voices, their bodies, their improvisations, and with whom they are. I feel extremely lucky to have them as our leading actresses and I’m really proud of them.
TTVJ: One thing that’s really great about Red is that Mel and Liz are real people, they make mistakes and have flaws and each has their own struggles. How will they cope with those struggles in Season 4 — Mel with the loss of the baby and Liz with her addiction?
GB: They will cope with those struggles through mutual support. We will see Liz being there for Mel when she is still dealing with that painful loss, and we will see Mel being the motivation to Liz to try to overcome her addiction.
TTVJ: Miscarriage isn’t a story that we see discussed a lot or in depth on television. How does RED address that in Season 4 and did you take any extra steps when telling such a sensitive story?
GB: Actually, I can’t say we will go further into the matter either. We will have Mel mourning her loss and dealing with guilt – which will clearly be affecting her relationship with Liz. But, soon, with Liz’s support, it will change and their life together will turn into her main concern.
TTVJ: You, along with your two stars Luciana and Ana Paula, recently were a part of ClexaCon 2018 in Las Vegas. What was that experience like and how was it finally getting to interact with fans in person?
GB: It was overwhelming and heartwarming. We had a fantastic time talking and connecting with fans from all over the world. It was really special for us hearing from so many people, face to face, how much our show means to them. We finally got to meet many fans that have been fiercely supporting us for a while now and with whom we have only interacted through social media. We felt loved and very happy to be there.
TTVJ: Is there anything I missed about RED, Season 4 or in general that you wanted to add?
GB: RED is a show 100 per cent funded by fans through on demand sales and crowdfunding campaigns. So, I would like to take the opportunity to thank all those people who have been supporting us and making it possible. Season 4 is currently available on demand (officially released to all on June 12) and it will help us to finance Season 5, which is currently in development.
Are you a fan of RED? Excited for Season 4? Add your thoughts on the series and any predictions below!
Editor in Chief Bridget Liszewski comes from a long line of TV Junkies who fostered her love of television from a very young age. She's channeled that passion into covering both US and Canadian television shows, and is thankful everyday for the invention of the DVR. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, she loves college football and is a fan of sports in general. Bridget is always up for talking TV and you can follow her on twitter at @BridgetOnTV.