Money Heist: Behind the Scenes and Season 5 Theories
Was Money Heist based on a true story? Which actor got real stitches for a scene? Which characters had completely different storylines we never got to see and why?
Today we’re taking you behind the scenes of the Money Heist Universe! It’s like Ocean’s Eleven - but make it 4 parts, put Spanish heartthrobs in the lead, and watch them break every single club rule within the first episodes! Quick warning: spoilers ahead!
1. The Original Narrator for the Dream Team
It may come as a surprise but screenwriters had a different narrator in mind in the original script. At the beginning of production, directors switched from the Professor to a friendly and cheerful Moscow! But not a single man could live up to the honorable title of the narrator, which was snatched by Tokyo - once and for all.
When Úrsula Corberó auditioned for the show - it just clicked! The directors realized that a female perspective would give weight to the show. (Read until the end to find out what her narration has to do with the future series finale!)
2. Was Berlin canceled?
Did you know that the actor Pedro Alonso who portrayed cruel and charismatic Berlin was almost canceled by the audience!? The heist member mirrors our society and represents everything that is wrong with mankind - and yet we can’t take our eyes off him!
Álex Pina, the writer of the show said: “The audience wants things to happen, and there’s nothing better than a villain who we can empathize with.”
We watched Berlin toy with people’s feelings and didn’t see his death coming. The Spanish actor said that part 4 showed a different side of his character: “When he died, playing him in the flashbacks proved to be more emotional. It’s as if I had to discover a new Berlin and a new lighter perspective for the role.’’
But it turned out that some people reached out to Pina saying: ‘This character doesn’t fit with the times. You should take him out of the series. He’s a misogynist, narcissist, and psychopath in many ways.’’ Oof, that was harsh but... Not without reason! Now, we had a love-hate relationship with this one.
We connected with the new Berlin and we want a separate series of his storyline with Palermo. In an interview, Alonso himself teased the idea of a spin-off saying: ‘’I visualized that in twenty years another person will continue Berlin’s story. I can imagine that happening.’’
These, of course, are just ideas but can you imagine an iconic narrative of young Berlin? Um... Hello Netflix, we are about to pitch you some ideas!
3. Into a rebel character overnight
The show is pretty much a series of unfortunate events for all parties involved. And the reason why everything went south is mentioned right in the theme song: "If I stay with you, If I'm choosing wrong, I don't care at all". Instead of executing his hostage, Denver shoots Monica in the leg and that’s where their controversial love story begins.
The writers of the show did plan to have a little romantic game where Denver helps Monica, portrayed by Esther Acebo, become one of the heist members and teaches her how to use a gun. The fun part is that two days before the shoot, the La Casa De Papel crew decided to add a twist and let Esther’s character shoot a gun without a man’s help.
The actress revealed: ‘’The directors said it could be more shocking if she was put in a situation to make the decision herself: to pick up a gun and shoot it without knowing how to do it to save the lives of her colleagues.’’
The result is a scene with Acebo in full-on Terminator mode. (Still cannot see how a bank secretary can turn into a professional hitman overnight, but in this Universe anything is possible.)
As a side note: apparently, when filming a scene with guns, there are no actual sounds, clicks, or anything coming out until CGI is put in during editing. Jaime Lorente said it is pretty embarrassing for the actors to shake their guns in dead silence with heroic faces.
4. Keeping it real no matter what
Although the Bank of Spain never allowed the Money Heist crew to enter the real bank - for obvious reasons - the production team managed to replicate anything it could with their imagination, including the defense mechanism! The team hired a marine engineer to reproduce the vault that floods itself when breached - just like the real Bank of Spain!
You can thank them later for that... And for the Bank... It might be time to change the locks! Another shocker is Enrique Arce (Arturo in the series) getting real stitches from an actual doctor in one of the scenes when his character had to be patched after being shot. And that's what we call dedication!
5. Movie script? Bella ciao!
It seems like the Movie Heist production team loves keeping secrets from their actors. In fact, improvisation was key when shooting the series. The cast revealed that episodes were shot as a sequence, letting actors change storylines and add to the script on the go. Which is a lot of freedom not many directors offer!
But some actors were left puzzled when new details popped up. Darko Perić who plays Helsinki said he had no idea about his character's sexuality for several episodes:
“Some things were really surprising for me. In the third episode, they discover that Helsinki is gay! I just thought he was a war veteran from the Balkans. So I didn't build that character like I would do. I was in the closet for two episodes and for me it was...very surprising.’’
Other cast members supported the idea, like Rodrigo de la Serna, Palermo in the series: ‘’The uncertain future puts you in a paradigm of anticipation and full attention. You need to be present in each situation. It fascinates me to work this way, where nothing is established. and anything can happen. That’s very exciting for an actor.’’
6. Is Money Heist based on a true story?
Let’s face it - we are dying to make it real! Although the money heist thieves are fictional characters, a similar bank robbery happened before! In January 2006, a group of robbers stole 8 million dollars from the Banco Río in Buenos Aires! In an epic scene, they escaped in a boat and were followed by 200 policemen.
Five years later, some thieves did an impressive job of renting a place next to the Buenos Aires bank and digging a 30-meter tunnel straight into the building! Sounds familiar? Maybe these two events inspired the show’s writers.
7. It’s just one of several alternative storylines
The series is packed with tear-jerking scenes and there is no chance you can finish the season without sobbing! The writers are playing the Game of Thrones trick on us - removing our beloved characters one by one! We slowly discover everyone’s background but not much about their motivation to join the heist.
What we did learn is that Berlin had a terminal disease: he felt like he had nothing left to lose so he sacrificed himself to let the others escape. But what we've seen so far is actually a more positive and simplified version of the initial script!
First off, the names of the main characters were replaced: Moscow’s name was Chernobyl, Cameroon was replaced with Nairobi, and Valencia became Oslo! God, this is some Geography 101 class right here! The names were then recycled as the operation titles!
On top of that, all of the characters were meant to have some sort of incurable illness and were trying to pay off their treatment. That is how the creators wanted to explain why eight thieves agreed to join a heist of such scale in the first place! The bottom line was that probably, in the end, nobody would live long enough to enjoy the money they stole. Gloomy but as always, the Money Heist team wanted to deliver meaningful symbolism.
8. Casually turned out to be family!
Surprise, surprise! Berlin and the Professor were not brothers according to the original script! It was all Pedro Alonso and Álvaro Morte's idea. The two decided it was exactly what the series needed! In an interview, Alonso said:
‘’As we spoke to the writers, we discovered this relationship between Berlin and El Profesor - the link between the brothers was one of the most specific surprises on the show, it was like creating a family from the impossible.’’
So, should we expect some more family links to be brought to the surface? Who knows maybe Tatiana, Berlin’s ex-wife will turn out to be Alicia’s sister? Nothing is off the table!
Speaking of our favorite characters, let’s give it up for Alba Flores, aka Nairobi, or the OG of the team! The actress has been through a lot in real life as well. She lost her father, and her grandmother died when Alba was filming the series. After Nairobi’s death in the show, the actress said:
"It's over, and I have nothing on the horizon. It's a really liberating feeling. Because...well, I need a rest."
The surprising thing is that nobody even warned Alba she was going to be killed in the series! The actress recalls: ‘’They said something is going to happen to you but don't be afraid. They didn't tell me anything so I read it and I gasped! I was shocked but... it is good for the series because things have to happen.’’
With rumors going around about the 5th and 6th seasons, we may expect Nairobi to come back in flashbacks, just like her co-stars Pedro Alonso and Paco Tous. Yet the future seasons are shrouded in mystery! Script coordinator Javier Gómez Santander said:
“With La Casa De Papel, we go game by game, chapter by chapter, sequence by sequence, line by line. We do not ever consider how long the show can last. If we got to know the scope of the phenomenon, we wouldn’t have thought to kill Berlin.”
Will Professor hand Alicia the red jumpsuit? Is Tokyo the only one who survives the heist and is now narrating the story to Nairobi’s son? Or is it the future where she has become the new Professor and shares her story to her own team? Let’s hope it won't take two more years to find out!