This Spanish show on Netflix blew up big time and now has a cult following

Channel24’s Herman Eloff was invited to Rome, Italy to meet the cast of the highly successful TV show, La Casa de Papel. 

Rome – Probably one of the most exciting things about Netflix is that it’s providing a global platform for shows that previously would only have been viewable within the borders of the country it was created in. 

In fact during its annual showcase event held in Rome, Italy last week the internet TV giant stated that its mission is to amplify local voices. It wants to bring new, diverse and never-before-seen stories from Europe, the Middle East and Africa to the rest of the world. 

“Our belief is that great storytelling transcends borders. When stories from different countries, languages and cultures find a worldwide platform where the only limitation is the creator’s imagination, then unique, yet universal, stories emerge that are embraced by a global audience,” said Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer at Netflix.

There’s probably no better example of the success of this strategy than the Spanish heist sensation, La Casa de Papel. After having moderate success on a local TV station the show was moved onto the regional version of Netflix, before later being added to Netflix’s global offering. Shortly after that it become a worldwide phenomenon. It was recently revealed that the show was the most viewed non-English-language series on Netflix during its previous quarter. 

Known in English as Money Heist the show is about eight thieves that take hostages and lock themselves in the Royal Mint of Spain as a criminal mastermind manipulates the police to carry out his plan. 

Part 1 (13 episodes) and Part 2 (9 episodes) are currently available for streaming on Netflix with Part 3 coming to the streaming platform in 2019

During an interview with Channel24 two members of the cast, Úrsula Corberó (Tokio) and Álvaro Morte (El Profesor) revealed what this unforgettable journey has been like for them. 

Álvaro Morte (El Profesor) in La Casa de Papel

(Álvaro Morte as El Profesor in La Casa de Papel. Photo: Netflix)

ON NETFLIX PICKING UP THE SHOW: 

Álvaro: When we first found out that we would be on Netflix’s national section in Spain we were really excited and very happy with that. Then we found out that the show would also be made available in the international section and we were like; “Really? Amazing! That’s great!”

Úrsula: And then suddenly you have like 1 million followers on Instagram. 

Álvaro: It was unbelievable. All of a sudden there’s a guy with a tattoo of your face on his back! And you’re like…what the hell is this?

Úrsula: It’s very weird!

Álvaro: It was crazy. So crazy. It’s actually been very nice because we put a lot of hard work into this series and faced a lot of challenges to make it happen. We didn’t have much money or time when we made the first two parts. I guess you can say we were like a family brought closer together by facing a difficult situation. We had to stick together and triumph. We put a lot of love into part 1 and part 2 of the show and we got a lot of love back from the world and that’s very nice. 

Úrsula: It is really amazing if you think about where we were then and where we are now. I remember when we started shooting the show. I pointed out that the outfits we were wearing are red…Netflix’s colours…we were a match. 

Álvaro: The show did well in Spain but not on the scale we’ve seen in the rest of the world. 

ON THE SHOW COMING BACK FOR PART 3:

Álvaro: Alex Pina, the creator of the show, is such a brilliant guy. He made these first 2 parts happen…why not trust him to make a third one? I completely trust this guy and I know he’s going to do something brilliant. Actually we know nothing about the third part or the plot yet. You talk to him and he’s like…“It’s going to blow your mind.” We’re going to start shooting at the end of the year. So we know nothing…yet. 

Úrsula Corberó (Tokio) in La Casa de Papel

(Úrsula Corberó as Tokio in La Casa de Papel. Photo: Netflix)

ON HAVING A CULT FOLLOWING: 

Úrsula: After hearing that we were going to do a part 3 I spoke to Jesus Colmenar, one of the executive producers, about my concerns of expanding the story. I knew the expectations were going to be so high. When we started this project we did it for those closest to us, i.e. Spain. Now it’s going to have an international projection. There is definitely an element of some responsibility to excel, but Jesus told me they already have the backstory ready and some plotlines. He said part 3 is going to be a blast. So that was really comforting for me. I mean we are very aware of the fact that we need to produce something that’s going to be really good as a piece of work because part 1 and part 2 worked so well. 

ON THE SHOW'S SECRET RECIPE FOR SUCCESS: 

Álvaro: The first element of success for the show is definitely the brilliant work of Alex Pina with the scripts. There is also the characters and the humanity within each of them. There’s a perfect mix between action, comedy, and drama in each episode. It’s easy to connect to the show and the characters. But there’s also an element that you can’t define. We don’t know why this is a success. We don’t have the complete recipe. We know it’s there. There’s a magic that makes it work. But you can’t specify exactly what it is. 

La Casa de Papel (Part 1, Part 2) is currently available to stream on Netflix

ALSO READ: My 15 minutes in Rome with Luke Evans, Dakota Fanning, and Daniel Brühl

*Channel24’s trip to Rome was sponsored by Netflix