‘Berlin’ raises the dead with ‘Money Heist’ star Pedro Alonso looking to score big

BLUE MONKEYS (L to R) PEDRO ALONSO as BERLíN in episode 02 of BLUE MONKEYS. Cr. TAMARA ARRANZ/NETFLIX © 2023

Pedro Alonso as Berlin in Netflix’s upcoming series of the same name.Tamara Arranz/NetflixCNN — 

Ask Pedro Alonso what he likes about his infamous “Money Heist” (“La Casa de Papel”) character Berlin, and you’re putting him in a bit of a bind.

“When I was reading the script, I was wondering, what are people going to think about this guy? He’s an emotional terrorist,” Alonso said on a video call, unable to conceal a laugh.

Viewers of the hit TV show “Money Heist” will be delighted to see Alonso back portraying the carefree, sophisticated and slightly psychotic thief in the highly anticipated Netflix prequel “Berlin,” debuting on December 29.

Despite succumbing to a terminal illness in season two of “Money Heist,” Berlin remained a prominent presence throughout all three seasons of the criminal drama, appearing in flashbacks, and was a fan favorite until the end. Now he’s back, younger, and with a few key differences.

“We honor what ‘Money Heist’ has given us and then we let go of it,” said Alonso. “The new tone is more comedic, more romantic; there’s something lighter in its DNA.”

While its DNA doesn’t stray too far from what made Berlin a fan favorite – leaning more towards “Sleeping with the Enemy” than “Sleepless in Seattle” – Alonso says love is a huge theme in the spinoff. “Love is everything. But imagine Berlin in a romantic comedy,” he quipped.

BLUE MONKEYS (L to R) BEGONA VARGAS as CAMERON, JULIO PEñA as ROI, TRISTáN ULLOA as DAMIáN, PEDRO ALONSO as BERLíN, JOEL SANCHEZ as BRUCE, MICHELLE JENNER as KEILA in episode 02 of BLUE MONKEYS. Cr. TAMARA ARRANZ/NETFLIX © 2023

“Berlin” is a “Money Heist” prequel featuring Alonso as the titular thief, this time with a whole new gang, and striking a very different tone.Tamara Arranz/Netflix

Taking place long before season one of “Money Heist,” the new series will show Berlin at the height of his thieving career, orchestrating a new heist and with a significant love story underpinning it all.

Berlin is recognized as the mastermind burglar and strategist behind complex heists, but when it comes to matters of the heart, he has historically fallen short. As revealed in “Money Heist,” he has been married at least three times.

“Berlin is a guy who, at first, really surprised me. They’d say to me, the character’s cold, right? And I thought, cold? Then, I realized he is a volcano, and nothing is more volcanic than romantic love,” Alonso said.

Set in the city of love, viewers will witness Berlin (real name Andrés de Fonollosa) attempting to pull off an extraordinary heist in Paris. The latest trailer for the show confirms a brand-new band of thieves will join him. Their plan? To steal €44 million ($48 million) in one afternoon.

It’s Berlin’s volcanic, morally reprehensible nature that keeps Alonso coming back. “Every time I have had to embody the role, it truly feels like being in a different movie. It’s a role that has a lot of substance and richness,” Alonso recalled.

Finding new audiences

Few Spanish shows have captured global audiences as profoundly as “Money Heist.” Created by Álex Pina and produced by Vancouver Media, the series made its debut in 2017 and has since evolved into a global phenomenon, becoming the tip of the spear in a new wave of Spanish productions with international reach. By the end of its run it had become one of Netflix’s most successful non-English language titles of all time.

Pedro Alonso as Berlin, the sadistic thief at the heart of crime caper "Money Heist" (2017-2021).

Pedro Alonso as Berlin, the sadistic thief at the heart of crime caper “Money Heist” (2017-2021).Netflix

“The phenomenon of ‘La Casa de Papel’ (‘Money Heist’) has brought many good things,” Alonso insisted. “Everything that has happened with Vancouver and Netflix over the years has given me the confidence to know that I am in a place where I am taken care of and where the material is constantly evolving.”

Vancouver Media’s collaboration with Netflix marked a pivotal moment that reshaped the trajectory of “Money Heist .” Netflix bought the streaming rights to the show, which had first aired on Spanish TV, and cut the original 15 episodes of the limited series into 22 episodes, before commissioning more seasons. According to Alonso, this move influenced the show’s success and transformed the Spanish media production industry, resulting in more Spanish shows being produced.

“The global market has created a new scenario, and now we are producing series that are, at least technically, competitive in any type of market. It’s been a giant leap,” he said. “In the last eight, nine, ten years, there has been an absolute revolution in Spanish storytelling.”

Other streaming giants have also made significant investments in Spanish-language content, and now they are reaping the rewards. The Spanish content fever has spread everywhere, even reaching Robert De Niro, who made an appearance on Hulu’s popular Spanish-language series, “Nada.”

Amazon Prime Video’s film, “Argentina, 1985” received an Oscar nomination and won Best Foreign Language Film at this year’s Golden Globe awards. Now Prime Video are creating a whole new slate of Spanish-language movies and TV shows, including thriller series “Los Farad,” starring fellow “Money Heist” alum Miguel Herrán.

Spanish-language drama "Argentina, 1985" won a Golden Globe earlier this year.

Spanish-language drama “Argentina, 1985” won a Golden Globe earlier this year.Amazon Studios

This transformative move towards Spanish-language content has been further underscored by Netflix’s recent investment in Spain, exemplified by the expansion of its Spanish production hub in Tres Cantos, just north of Madrid.

Last year the streaming giant doubled its Spanish TV original series and expanded Tres Cantos, making it Netflix’s first production facility in Europe to house 10 stages and a post-production facility.

It’s here where they film much of the platform’s Spanish-language content, ranging from melodramas like “Valeria” to thriller “The Society of the Snow (“La Sociedad de la Nieve”), Spain’s nomination for this year’s Best International Film at the Academy Awards.

“I did the first two seasons of ‘Money Heist.’ The reviews were very positive, but my character passed away. Seven years later, here I am with you. That’s the power of Netflix. It’s capable of bringing dead people back,” Alonso said, laughing.

On a more serious note, Alonso https://itusiapalagi.com contends that the advent of streaming, as demonstrated by the recent success of Spanish titles, is poised for continued growth and success.

“Nobody can predict what will happen next year,” he caveated, “but I think Spanish production is rightfully placing itself on the global map, and that is very exciting.”

“Berlin” will premiere on Netflix on December 29.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*