Selton Mello Announces U.S. Directorial Debut, ‘Cathedral City,’ Produced by Zero Gravity's Tai

The prolific actor, director, producer and writer is headed north to test his mettle in Hollywood.

Selton Mello, one of Brazil’s most marketable talents both behind and in front of the camera, is making his U.S. directorial debut with the upcoming musically charged drama “Cathedral City.”

Mello made his name on screen in Brazil in films like “Lisbela and the Prisoner” and “To the Left of the Father,” and then moved into writing, directing and producing his own projects. His second directorial feature, “The Clown,” Brazil’s Oscar submission, earned one of highest grosses for an art film in recent years in Brazil. His third directorial outing, the well-reviewed “The Movie of My Life,” starred “Black Swan’s” Vincent Cassel.

His U.S. debut will be behind the camera, for a story he says he fell in love with on his first read, more than four years ago. “Cathedral City,” penned by John Newman is about a musician who discovers his late father’s secret life. It will be produced by Paul Schiff and his company Paul Schiff Productions, and Tai Duncan at Zero Gravity, the company behind Netflix originals “Ozark” and “Beasts of No Nation.”

As an actor, Mello is also starring in the upcoming Netflix series “The Mechanism,” from “Narcos” creator José Padilha. Mello plays retired federal police deputy Marco Ruffo in a fictional drama loosely based on the investigation of allegations of major political corruption involving state and privately owned oil and construction companies in Brazil.

The series is produced by Padilha’s award-winning Zazen Productions. The company previously produced one of Brazil’s record holders in ticket sales and revenues, “Elite Squad.”

Mello’s film “Soundtrack,” which also features “City of God” alum Seu Jorge and Ralph Ineson from “The Witch,” will screen at Guadalajara, Panama and the Brazilian Film Festival of Paris. “The Mechanism” premieres on Netflix worldwide on March 23; work on “Cathedral City” is underway.

In addition to the announcement of “Cathedral City,” Mello also talked with Variety about working with Netflix, making the move to Hollywood, and how he fits it all into 24-hour days.