Voxx actors shined in the spotlight today in a news article from Brazil. In this article, the actors share their expectations and dreams of moving from Brazil to Los Angeles to pursue an international career in Hollywood. Featured voice-over actors include Mauro Blanco, Raquel Urey, André Engracia, and also director Leila Viera.
We’ve translated the article into English to share the Brazilian perspective!
Voxx Studios is very proud of our actors and directors.
In Hollywood, Brazilians make a living dubbing Hispanic soap operas
The dream of a Brazilian who wants to work as an actor in Hollywood doesn’t always happen in the way you’d expect. In a competitive market, major roles in television series and major movies are snapped up by those who have good agents and those who have come from Brazil with an outstanding career on TV and in national cinema, like Alice Braga, Wagner Moura, Rodrigo Santoro, and Morena Baccarin (star of “Deadpool” and “Homeland”) – who grew up in the United States.
Still, it is possible to make money as a foreign artist in America. And one of the markets that have been offering opportunities for Brazilians is dubbing (voice-over). At Voxx Studios in Glendale, CA (East Los Angeles), Brazilians from several states are dubbing Hispanic soap operas for the African market, specifically Angola.
Raquel Urey, 49, came to California in 1993. The goal was to study performing arts and grow her acting career. “It was very difficult because of my Brazilian accent. At that time, Hollywood didn’t have an openness to diversity. I am the previous generation’s Jennifer Lopez and Ricky Martin, because they opened the space for the Latino and foreign actors market. When you come to Hollywood to work, it is like going to Las Vegas to play. You can win or you can lose. I came to win!”
In these comings and goings, I began dubbing movies for airlines in 1997. “I’ve done ‘Legally Blonde’, ‘The Aviator’, and more. At Voxx, I’m currently cast in two soap operas. ‘Savage Skin (Piel Salvaje) ‘ and ‘Fallen Over Love (Voltea pa’ que te enamores)’. I play four characters.”
Mauro Blanco, 49, from Rio de Janeiro, has been in the business for 19 years, having initially come to study music. “I was a guitar player and I ended up staying. I studied theater for 5 years. I worked in a few independent films and acted in some soap operas. I arrived in March of 1987. The first film that I dubbed was the ‘Phantom’, with Billy Zane, dubbing his voice. I also directed the voiceover for ‘Cold Mountain’ on the DVD in Brazil and I dubbed the voice of Leonardo DiCaprio in ‘the Wolf of Wall Street’. “
However, Blanco says that the market has its ups and downs, as there are times when there isn’t much work. This is due to the market reserve law for Brazilian voice actors that ensures that over 70% of voiceover is carried out in the country of Brazil.
Still, the voice of Blanco and his colleagues in Hollywood can be heard in Brazil, as one of the Hispanic shows they are voicing, “Waiting For You (Alla Te Espero)”, will be available on Netflix. Nicknamed by his friends as the “Pope of Dubbing,” the actor says he has done a lot of voice-over for major productions, such as “War of the Worlds.” “There were films that I worked on in 2003 and paychecks still arrive in the mail.”
From São Paulo, André Engracia, 41, says he always heard that he had a good voice for dubbing, but never pursued a career in Brazil because of the profession’s corporatism. “You’d always need to take a very expensive course, to then become part of a very selective group. I ended up going another direction. One day I came to Voxx with a friend and I was waiting for her to do an audition for this job. The casting director heard me talking and he called me, put me in the studio, gave me a scene, I did the scene, then they called the director, the owner of the studio, and asked where I’d been hiding. Conclusion: my friend didn’t get the job and I did. “
During the interview, one of the best moments was to follow the work of the director Leila Vieira, 28, from Santa Catarina, Joinville. She came to the United States to study directing, but throughout college had a familiarity with Hispanic soap operas. Her thesis in journalism was based on the soap opera “A Usurpadora”.
The thesis, according to Leila, analyzed the success of many reruns of this soap opera and how the SBT( a Brazilian TV channel) used the Mexican soap operas to revive their audience rankings from time to time.
The plan is to return to Brazil to direct national soap operas and movies. “I love soap operas. I watched ‘The Usurpadora’ five times. I sold Jequiti (cosmetics) because I wanted to go on the ‘Roda a Roda’ TV show. I love Silvio Santos, the owner of SBT. And that was funny because I’m in the upper middle class. People don’t understand how I could like SBT. And my thesis shows that while SBT is a channel supposedly directed at the lower middle class, the audience ranges from middle class to upper middle class. People watch to empty their level of intelligence” she said in laughter.
She also said that, while working, she consumes the product of dubbing. That’s why she is always commenting on the plot and on the behavior of each character. “Many of our sound engineers, who have never seen a soap opera that wasn’t from Globo (the biggest Brazillian TV channel), begin to have an interest. As bad as they are, you get to watch it and it makes you feel intrigued.”
Even though it’s work, dubbing Hispanic soap operas is also fun due to the overreactive actors and the Spanish language. Therefore, the dubbing team, which includes directors and sound engineers, will post the funniest quotes on the studio walls.
“After months dubbing that character, you start to think like them. Then the translation sometimes comes in a way that you instinctively know that’s not how they want to be expressed. There are absurdities that, in context, make sense. But they don’t get to go to the final cut” said Engracia. However, it is sometimes necessary to censor entire storylines, according to the guidelines of the consumer countries.
“In the case of Angola, which is an African country with a predominance of Islam, they have a number of restrictions. In the soap opera ‘Waiting For You (Alla Te Espero)’, the storyline of a gay couple has been completely cut. Then, last week, the french character that I play uses many drugs. During a conversation, he would say: ‘That’s a marijuana cigarette!’ But there is a rule that you can’t mention marijuana, so I dubbed it as a ‘devil cigarette’,”concludes André Engracia.