What can a romantic series set in some Spanish fashion galleries in the 1950s have in common? thriller of espionage on a prisoner of war who returns home and on whom the shadow of betrayal weighs? Apparently nothing. However, on Apple TV + they thought of bringing together the minds behind those two successes in their first series of Spanish origin. From their first promotional videos, Now&Then —which premiered its first three chapters on Apple TV+ on May 20, with a new chapter every week until completing the eight it will have— surprised with such a peculiar combination: “From the executive producers of Velvet Y Homeland”, read the promotional phrase.
When Ramón Campos and Gema R. Neira, creators of Now&Then (now and then) and two of the legs of Bambú Producciones, presented their series to Apple TV +, the platform proposed adding an external collaboration in production. The chosen one was Gideon Raff, Israeli screenwriter, producer and director, creator, among others, of Hatufim, the series on which it was based Homelandeither The spy from Netflix. “He has a very good thing, because we have a very Latin conception of narration and he, very American. It has been a very fruitful mix”, says Ramón Campos in an interview that took place by video call on Tuesday, May 10 from Mexico City and in which he was accompanied by Neira and Raff.
The proposal of Now&Then did not change in essence with the arrival of Raff: a thriller that takes place in Miami with Latin American, Spanish and American characters and that follows, in two time lines, the differences between the dreams and aspirations that a group of friends have in their twenties and the reality of their lives two decades later. A plot of mystery around the death of one of them in the past and a blackmail that brings them together again in the present is the trigger for the action, in which the existential drama prevails, the secrets and the lies that each one hides. character above criminal mystery. “When the scripts were sent to me, I fell in love with the series,” says Raff. The Israeli, who responds in English but is able to follow the responses of his two interview partners in Spanish, in addition to producing the series, directs the first and last two chapters. “It’s the first project I’ve directed that I haven’t created and written. And when I was reading it I was wondering why I wouldn’t have created it myself, because it has a lot of the themes that I like”, he explains.
Raff’s arrival turned Now&Then in the series that has ended up being, slightly different from the one that the Bamboo writers had in mind. “The idea is the same, but it added many layers to the narrative, and added rhythm,” says Gema R. Neira. “And the montage. The way she rides is very different from ours, ”completes Campos. “We usually do a calmer narration, and Gideon said, let’s give the viewer a hard time, I’m bored. he has contributed punch”. “We were used to flashbacks longer, another type of structure. I think we were starting to do it and he pushed us to go a little further. And he has also brought his sense of humor, which is somehow in the series, ”adds Neira.
The origin of Now&Then it is in a simple image that its creators found in real life, that of a car accident with several young people involved. From there, Campos and Neira began to imagine. “It is a project that we have given a thousand times. We realized, perhaps because we are already in our forties, that there was a subject that we had not dealt with in our series and that is dreams, what you wanted to be when you were young and what you have become, whether or not those dreams square with reality. and how important or not it is that they fit”, explains Campos, responsible, together with Gema R. Neira and Teresa Fernández Valdés, for titles such as farina, on death row, grand hotel either the wire girls. “And how decisions you make in a single second change the rest of your life without being aware,” adds Neira. “Which is a big lie,” intercedes Campos. “We keep repeating how one moment of your life can change everything, but in reality all the moments of your life are changing it permanently.”
To tell that story, they chose as a setting a bilingual Miami, in which coexistence among immigrants is common, a Miami far from the beaches and the sun that productions set in that city usually reflect. A Miami that is more like the one where Apple executives live and whose offices and residences Campos and Neira met when they were preparing the series. “We are talking about a reality that until now has not been treated in fiction, how the world is already absolutely globalized. In Miami it happens like what we say about Madrid, that nobody is from Madrid. In Miami nobody is from Miami,” says Campos.
To do so, they assembled a bilingual cast that the writer and producer describes as “the dream team of Latin American actors. The starting point was Maribel Verdú, who plays one of the protagonists in the mature version of her. “We told ourselves, if for us Maribel is Spanish, the actors from each country have to be at Maribel’s level. It was not easy”, Campos explains about a complex process of selecting the interpreters that first led them to choose the mature versions of the characters and then look for young performers from the same countries and who physically resembled their adult versions.
Spain, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, the United States, Chile and even Slovenia are represented in the main cast with actors such as Rosie Perez, José María Yazpik, Marina de Tavira, Manolo Cardona, Soledad Villamil, Željko Ivanek, Juana Acosta or Eduardo Noriega, besides Verdu. Among the young people, Jorge Pérez, Alicia Jaziz, Dario Yazbek Bernal, Alicia Sanz, Jack Duarte and Miranda de la Serna. The origin of each one was fundamental for the final script. “We didn’t want the origin to be something circumstantial, but rather to bring a character to each character,” says Gema R. Neira, which forced us to retouch the scripts based on the nationality of the actors.
Each member of the cast puts their grain of sand to draw a mosaic of the most varied accents. “We wrote the script in the Spanish of Spain. We translated it into English so that Gideon [Raff] read it and pass us notes [porque además de productor y director, ejerció como supervisor de guiones]. We applied those notes and sent the script to a dialogue review. Then each actor readapted the text to his country, even though we had editors for each accent”, says Campos. “Every day on set the actors would comment on the fact that they were speaking with their accent. From the outside I don’t have that sensitivity, but language is culture, and the idea of mixing cultures in Miami and allowing each actor to speak in their native dialect, I think it’s something that elevates the experience”, concludes Raff.
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