Insights into Money Heist

April 26, 2020

Based on the documentary, Money Heist: The Phenomenon, here are 5 interesting facts about a show that is in its 4th season and has been trending #3 on Netflix in Pakistan this week.

Trivia: The well-known masks of the robbery are of the famous Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dalí, who spoke highly of causing confusion and not limiting one’s imagination. It is exactly what the Professor and the heist gang are doing.

Consistently trending in Pakistan, Spanish crime drama La Casa De Papel – popularly known as Money Heist – has most people hooked on to Netflix these days. While fans were awaiting the release of the recent fourth season that launched on April 3, 2020, the series had attracted numerous new viewers in the last one month as binge-watching surged amidst the global pandemic.

The newest season did not only create social media frenzy but is the most watched show in Pakistan today, despite mixed reviews surrounding the plot and characters. A documentary called Money Heist: The Phenomenon, directed by Luis Alfaro, Pablo Lejarreta; written by Javier Gómez Santander, Pablo Lejarreta and featuring the cast and producers, premiered on Netflix the same day as season four. It documents how and why “Money Heist sparked a wave of enthusiasm around the world for a lovable group of thieves and their professor,” as the team shares their life-changing experiences with the acclaimed, Emmy award-winning series.

Here are five things you should know about the show if you are a true fan. Spoiler alert!

Story of failure

The series that we see as a big success today had failed initially. Money Heist launched in 2017 on a Spanish TV channel with 4.5 million viewers, making for a great start but then the audience began to fall. The cast and crew thought it was the end of their journeys and it was pretty upsetting for them. But then Netflix bought it! People from all over the world watched it, more than in Spain, and things started to blow off. Audiences from Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Colombia, etc. bonded with the show, pushing it to number two (after Stranger Things) in the ranking of shows worldwide.

Game-changer for the cast

The cast, including Úrsula Corberó (Tokyo), Pedro Alonso (Berlin), Alba Flores (Nairobi), Miguel Herran (Rio) and Jaime Lorente (Denver), admits in the documentary that their lives changed after the series made it to Netflix. They said that their reality changed. With hardly any followers earlier, there were tons of them from all over the world. They realized it even better when they went out of Madrid to shoot parts of season three and four and they were hardly able to finish in time, given the huge turnout of fans around the set. “We went from being completely anonymous to people asking for photos with us,” Alba Flores quotes in the documentary.

Movement of change

While Money Heist did inspire robberies as people imitated heists using the famous Dali mask, it began to signify something meaningful as well. The exciting part lies on the streets as the red jumpsuits and masks are paraded around America, Europe and Asia and they are being used in political protest marches. The song, ‘Bella Ciao’ also seems to have acquired a new meaning; it has become an anthem for causes like democracy, feminism and the environment. An NGO rescued a boat full of immigrants and once they were brought to safety, they sang ‘Bella Ciao’. “That’s much more important than any of the rest,” noted actor Álvaro Morte, who essays the role of the professor.

Winning strategy

More than the spectacular robbery or even the intelligent professor who fans admire, audiences fell in love with the characters. And that is what makes Money Heist stand out; as Pedro Alonso, who essays Berlin, aptly put it, “The thing that sets the series apart is that it has heart.” The kindness and wickedness in each of the characters, their pasts, their mistakes, their stupidity is what viewers connect with. The unpredictability that anything can happen to any character, the real-life experts and research the series involves in the process and black humour are some key aspects that make Money Heist an engaging watch.

Road to success

Moving to bigger sets, as Netflix came onboard, meant bigger bills. To shoot the sequence of money shower, the crew closed off downtown Madrid for a day but things went out of control. The machine stopped working, the fan jammed, winds began to blow and last but not the least, it rained. With hundreds of extras over, the day passed in collecting and recollecting money after each unsuccessful take before they finally shot the final scene. Similarly, for the scene with tons of gold in water, they submerged the entire set in a swimming pool. Just when they thought everything is in place, the ingots that were made from foam began to bend. The editing team digitally touched up every ingot and the final results were worth the effort. However, the best part is, despite uncertain weather conditions and unprecedented events, there were no casualties during the entire shoot. Needless to say, every frame of the final product reflects the dedication of the entire team behind Money Heist.

Insights into Money Heist