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Born: June 27, 1976
Rodelas, Bahia, Brazil
Sergio Vieira de Mello
Born: March 15, 1948
Birthplace: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Death: August 19, 2003, Baghdad, Iraq (Canal Hotel bombing)
Ana de Armas
Born: April 30, 1988
Born: abt 1972
Birthplace: Bahía Blanca, Argentina
Brían F. O'Byrne
Born: May 16, 1967
Mullagh, County Cavan, Ireland
Born: March 7, 1945
Born: November 24, 1964
Castro Valley, California, USA
U.S. Army Sergeant William von Zehle
Born: October 10, 1959
Madison, Wisconsin, USA
Born: September 30, 1941
Birthplace: Hartford, Connecticut, USA
While researching the Sergio true story, we discovered that, to a large degree, the Netflix film was inspired by the 2009 HBO documentary Sergio. Both the Netflix movie and the Sergio documentary were directed by Greg Barker. The screenplay for the film was written by Craig Borten (Dallas Buyers Club). The movie was also inspired by the book Chasing the Flame by Samantha Power.
Yes. While researching the Sergio fact vs. fiction, we discovered it's true that Argentinian U.N. economic adviser Carolina Larriera, portrayed by Ana de Armas, met the father-of-two when he was brokering a peace deal between the Indonesian government in East Timor and the rebels. The real-life Larriera was 29 at the time and the much older de Mello was approximately 53 with two grown sons. Their love affair resulted in de Mello deciding to end his marriage. However, it should be noted that while they had not been officially divorced, de Mello and his wife Annie had been separated for nearly two decades.
Carolina Larriera and Sergio Vieira de Mello had been living together in Paris for over three years. According to Larriera, they were engaged and planned to get married after leaving Baghdad. A Sergio fact check confirms that it's also true that Carolina Larriera was later recognized by Brazil as Sergio Vieira de Mello's "civil union spouse," a fact she emphasizes on her own official website.
Yes. Like in the Sergio Netflix movie, she found him buried under carpeting, furniture, and beams. She tried to move several tons of concrete but to no avail. Carolina says that they exchanged words of love and comfort after he told her that he was in a lot of pain and could not get himself loose. Before long, she was forcibly pulled out from the rubble. She says that she tried to explain who he was and tell them where he was trapped, but there appeared to be no urgency to extract him. She was blocked from trying to go back inside. -Carolina Larriera Official Website
This is perhaps the most fictionalized part of the Sergio Netflix movie. Director Greg Barker and screenwriter Craig Borten have attempted to imagine what was going through Sergio Vieira de Mello's mind as he lie dying in the rubble. They came up with a selection of memories and regrets that de Mello reflects upon. However, it is unclear what exactly was floating through the real Sergio Vieira de Mello's mind during those lonely and painful hours trapped in the shifting rubble, struggling not to lose consciousness.
We do know that in addition to talking briefly to fiancée Carolina Larriera, who found him in the rubble, de Mello also had an exchange with one of the men attempting to rescue him, U.S. Army Sergeant William von Zehle (portrayed by Garret Dillahunt). de Mello told Zehle, "Don't let them pull the U.N. out of Iraq. Don't let them fail this mission."
For a more accurate depiction of Sergio's true story than what is shown in the movie, read Samantha Power's Sergio Vieira de Mello book Chasing the Flame: One Man's Fight to Save the World.
Yes. In researching how accurate is Sergio on Netflix, we confirmed that Gil Loescher, who is portrayed by Brían F. O'Byrne in the movie, was severely injured but survived the attack. Loescher was Professor of International Relations at the University of Notre Dame and was also an expert on refugees. He had traveled to Baghdad to provide input on the human cost of war and reconstruction. The true story reveals that he was indeed trapped with U.N. Special Envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello, who did not make it out alive. Loescher lost both his legs and suffered other terrible wounds to his face and body.
At least 22 people died in the Canal Hotel bombing on the afternoon of August 19, 2003 in Baghdad, Iraq, including the United Nations Special Representative in Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello, and 20 members of his staff. More than 100 others were injured. A suicide bomber used a truck bomb contained inside of a large cement mixer. Investigators believed that the bomb was constructed from old munitions from Iraq's pre-war arsenal, including a 500-pound aerial bomb.
No. Just a month later on September 22, 2003, another suicide bomber detonated a car bomb outside the Canal Hotel in Baghdad, the location of the U.N. headquarters in Iraq. The blast killed an Iraqi policeman, the bomber, and injured 19 others, including U.N. employees.
Expand your knowledge of the real story behind Sergio on Netflix by watching video of the top U.N. diplomat below.