Netflix’s Spanish thriller Money Heist gains international popularity

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Valery Ventura, Contributing Writer

La Casa de Papel, known to most as Money Heist, has captivated audiences across the globe.  It tells the story of a law-breaking mastermind and his group of anonymous accomplices as they plot to steal various valuable items.  After premiering in 2017, the series’ highly-anticipated finale will be released this winter.

Money Heist is a Spanish thriller on Netflix, written in European Spanish.  The show tells the story of a “professor,” who, instead of teaching, is a shady, meticulous criminal genius who plans heists in a detailed manner, and gathers a group of eight people to carry them out.  These people are not allowed to know anything about each other, so each is given a nickname corresponding with a city.  Each person on the team has a particular skill, but all of them have one thing in common – nothing to lose.

“The show is a gift for us to be something that’s just not entertainment, you know it’s just bigger, it’s like a phenomenon,” said actor Darko Peric in an interview with BackstageOL

Created by Álex Pina, Money Heist premiered to audiences in Spain with a two-part season.  At first, ratings were high, with 45 million views, but they quickly decreased.  The show was cancelled, until Netflix picked it up and re-released the show cut into shorter episodes internationally, and Money Heist spiked in popularity, taking the world by storm.  The show was renewed for a second season, and has continued since.

“I think that the planets are aligned for something so extraordinary like this,” said actor Peter Alonso, who plays Berlin, in an interview at the Festival of Television of Monte Carlo.

The cast features famous Spanish actors such as Úrsula Corberó, Álvaro Morte, and Peter Alonso.  The actor who plays Rio also acts as Christian Varela in the popular Spanish show Elite on Netflix.  Money Heist has six different directors; most episodes are filmed by Jesús Colmenar.  Usually, shows have a script prior to the entire filming, but Money Heist writers write every script as they are filming.  The writer of the show is Pina, the creator, who works with co-writers such as Javier Gomez Santander, Esther Martinez, and more.  

“Each cast member really shows the weaknesses and strengths of each character,”  said sophomore Leah Goodman.

Even though the show is set in Spain, Money Heist was filmed in seven different countries all over the world.  Most of the filming was in Europe, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Portugal and the United Kingdom.  The scenes of the flooded vault were actually filmed in the United Kingdom, despite the storyline being that the vault was in the Bank of Spain.  Some filming was also done in Thailand and Panama.

“I never knew that there were scenes filmed in so many other countries,” said sophomore Olivia Silberman.

The final season, Part 5, will be fully released this year, concluding the hit series.  The first half of this season is already out, premiering on Sept. 3.  The release date for the second part is Dec. 3, finalizing the series as a whole.  If you have already watched the first part of the fifth season and are looking for more of the red jumpsuit-wearing, masked crew, there is a docuseries surrounding the creation and detail of Money Heist on Netflix called Money Heist: Tokyo to Berlin.

“The docuseries showed me the emotional perspective of how Money Heist was made, and how it is much more than just a show,” said sophomore Bella Militana.