Sat Apr 8, 2023

Fake Live – A life in public with its dangers / interview with actress Fernanda Paes Leme and director Alexandre Paes Leme

Fernanda Paes Leme © Fake Live

The series is about Fernanda, an actress and influencer who posts and shares everything on Instagram for her fans and interacts with them. However, she is hacked by a person who takes over her profile and also her life. Fernanda loses control. She no longer has access to her Instagram account and sees dubious videos and live streams on her profile of a woman who looks exactly like herself. This loss of control over her life slowly makes Fernanda go crazy. Even her friends, her manager and her own family think that Fake Fernanda is the real one, but she is completely ignored and ostracized from her own life. Will Fernanda get her own life back?

The web series Fake Live is a short web series with nine episodes, shot at home as a low budget project during the quarantine period in Brazil, by the two siblings Fernanda Paes Leme and Alexandre Paes Leme. The web series has been very successful with over 7 million views, and it is also the directorial debut of Alexandre Paes Leme. Fake Live received an award for the Best idea at Seriale 2021.

We had an interview with director, writer and producer Alexandre Paes Leme and Actor Fernanda Paes Leme.

Seriale: What message did you want to convey with the series?

Alexandre Paes Leme: I wouldn’t say I like the word and the behaviour of a typical fake influencer or a fake celebrity, so I decided to make this series with my sister Fernanda to criticize those types of people. It is not just about facing the social media dilemma but about something bigger. In the series, we are talking about real traumas. Fake Live to me is very personal. We also want to attach how traumas in the past can affect life in the future. Furthermore, we want to show the struggles during quarantine in Brazil and how people can change in this time.

Seriale: Tell me something about the word game in the title Fake Live.

Alexandre Paes Leme: During quarantine in Brazil, many people went live on Instagram. My sister Fernanda, a famous actress in Brazil, was also supposed to go online for her fans, but she didn’t want to. She didn’t like the concept of going live at all, and so we often made jokes about the people who did. The series is called Fake Live because it was shot on Fernanda’s real Instagram account when we made this series. So her fans didn’t know if she was actually live-streaming or just doing it for the series. We thought it was funny and created this word game and title for the series.

Still: Fernanda Paes Leme in bed © Fake Live

Seriale: How did you come up with this idea of identity theft in the social media world, in which we move parallel to our everyday lives?

Alexandre Paes Leme: Before Corona in 2019, I practised for a solo piece in a play. The story was about me, Alexandre Paes Leme, and a double Alexandre who has a life that is parallel in a different way. These two paths are options to see what will happen in each life path. The plot of the story is something like the chaos theory. Unfortunately, because of the Corona situation, I was not able to perform the play. But still, it inspired me to write Fake Live and turn it into a low-budget series with my sister Fernanda, so I called her. The rest is history.

Seriale: The way of telling the story is very extraordinary. What is the significance of the platform in the series?

Alexandre Paes Leme: The way the story is told, and the use of the same medium in which it all takes place, makes it much more immersive to the viewer.

Seriale: Was the series filmed with smartphones?

Alexandre Paes Leme: Yes, all scenes were filmed just with Fernanda’s smartphone.

Seriale: Would you say that you broke the fourth wall in this series?

Alexandre Paes Leme: Yeah, sometimes we broke the fourth wall in the series. She talks to her followers on Instagram, but she also talks to the viewers of the series. It’s also funny that when Fake Live was created, viewers of Fernanda’s live streams didn’t know if the live streams were still for the series or if it was an actual Livestream when Fake Live came to life.

Still: Fernanda Paes Leme is filming herself in the bathroom. © Fake Live

Seriale: Which problems of society do you want to address?

Alexandre Paes Leme: The problems of society in social media include social dilemmas, trauma, the problem of how people are exploited to commercialization of products, crazy fans who think that the famous person is their property and must do what they demand.

Seriale: Fernanda, how was it for you, playing two different characters in one movie?

Fernanda Paes Leme: It was amazing and challenging to go through this. Both characters have very different characteristics compared to mine.

Seriale: How did you prepare for the characters?

Fernanda Paes Leme: I was worried about the temperature of the characters. Fernanda was colder in the beginning, and Fake Fernanda was hotter; over time, the particular characteristics of each mixed with the others.

Seriale: Wasn’t it weird filming yourself in intimate situations such as in the bathroom or on the bed?

Fernanda Paes Leme: I had no thoughts about them being intimate scenes. They were easy to shoot, not least because I was the only person on set.

Seriale: Have you ever been hacked in real life before?

Alexandre Paes Leme: Yes, I’ve been already hacked several times. Someone even has created a fake profile of me on social media in the past.

Fernanda Paes Leme: I’ve been hacked on Twitter before, but I got my account back quickly.

Seriale: Thank you very much for this interview.

Interview: Lucas Löb

Fake Live (2021)
Country: Brazil
Genre: Thriller, Comedy, Drama
Runtime: 9 x 6 min
Director: Alexandre Paes Leme
Writer: Alexandre Paes Leme
Producer: Fernanda Paes Leme, Alexandre Paes Leme
Cast: Fernanda Paes Leme, Alexandre Paes Leme, Luana Xavier, Fabio Augusto Baretto, Felipe Rosa, Giovanna Lancellotti, Marcus Verissimo, Feliphe Belloni, Juliane Arguello, Dom Capelari, Letícia Calvosa, Pedro Casali, André Madrini