Every once in a while, the TV gods bless us with a series that not only steals our hearts but also makes us crave for more. From Friends and The Big Bang Theory to Breaking Bad and Stranger Things, many of these binge-worthy shows have kept us up for nights. Now, there is one more Netflix gem that has become a top contender for the viewers’ attention. We are talking about the Spanish heist crime drama, Money Heist, also known as La Casa de Papel. The show has amassed a massive viewership thanks to its captivating storyline, charming characters, and overall entertainment value. Fans want to know more about the show. So, here are 20 lesser-known facts about Money Heist.
1. It is the most-watched non-English series on Netflix.
The first season of Money Heist was released on Netflix in December of 2017, and by the time the streaming giant released the second season in 2018, the show had become a massive hit. In fact, within the first four weeks of its release, Season 3 was viewed by 44 million households across non-English-language regions. It is also the most-viewed Netflix series in countries such as Portugal, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Italy, and France. (1, 2)
2. The script for each season is written simultaneously as the episodes are filmed.
When following the show’s complex narrative, it is easy to assume that the plots are created and scripts are written months before shooting begins. In reality, the process is quite the opposite of that. Instead of finishing the scripts beforehand, the writers do it in parallel with filming. According to the show’s creators, this process helps them better understand what the script needs and allows them to adapt as they move forward. The main downside to this process is that the actors often do not get enough time to rehearse their scenes, which is why they often resort to doing video calls with the screenwriters. (source)
3. The series was originally going to be called Los Desahuciados.
If you watch the show in English, you might be familiar with the name Money Heist. However, the series is actually called La Casa de Papel, which means “The Paper House” when literally translated from Spanish. Surprisingly, this name was not the first choice for the series. During the conception phase, the creators used the title Los Desahuciados, which means “The Evicted.” That name was quite fitting when you think about the show’s characters as social outcasts. (1, 2)
4. The show was considered a failure and was nearly canceled before it was picked up by Netflix.
La Casa de Papel premiered on Antena 3, a Spanish terrestrial TV channel, in 2017. Over 4 million viewers tuned in to watch the show, and it was deemed as one of the most successful premieres in the history of Spanish TV. However, despite receiving rave reviews, the show lost its viewership as time passed. By the time the finale aired, less than 50% of the original viewers tuned in to watch.
As the audience lost interest in the show, the show’s creators and the actors accepted the idea that the show might be canceled. Thankfully for us, Netflix picked it up and made it a part of their international catalog. After acquiring global streaming rights, Netflix re-cut the show into 22 episodes and released them worldwide without much promotion. Despite this, viewers found this show and fell in love with it, making it the success it is today. (source)
5. All the members of the gang were originally going to be terminally ill.
According to sources, the writers had initially planned the fate of each gang member quite differently. They were all going to have some form of a terminal illness, which was going to serve as the primary motivation behind their decision to go for the risky heist. However, in the end, the creators went against the plan and it was only Berlin who had a terminal illness. (1, 2)
6. The show was originally going to be narrated by The Professor himself.
Fans of the show love The Professor, the incredibly smart, charismatic, yet shy mastermind behind the heists. Naturally, many people have wondered why he does not narrate the show, which centers around him and his plan. In truth, The Professor was the first choice as the narrator for the show, but the creators thought that it would be too narcissistic for him to narrate his own plan. Ultimately, they chose Tokyo to be the narrator as they wanted to have a woman’s perspective in the predominantly masculine setting. (1, 2)
7. Denver’s laugh was part of the script even before Jaime Lorente was chosen for the role.
Denver is among the most loved characters on the show, and he is known for his unique laugh. Though most people assume it to be the actor’s way of playing the character, the laugh was actually written into the script long before Jaime Lorente got the role. The script simply mentioned “trashy laughter” as part of the character’s trait, and everyone who auditioned for the part interpreted it differently.
Many people have likened Denver’s laugh to that of Danny Zuko’s in Grease. To that comparison, Lorente says that he did not intend to copy John Travolta even though Grease was one of his favorite movies growing up. To the fans who might still be wondering, Jaime Lorente does not actually laugh like that in real life! (1, 2)
8. Natalie Portman’s Mathilda from the movie Léon heavily inspired Tokyo’s look.
According to the show’s creators, the character of Tokyo was the hardest to develop. Originally, they wanted to cast an older actress in the role, but Úrsula Corberó’s playful energy won them over. When talking about her character on the show, Corberó mentioned that her look was heavily inspired by Mathilda, played by Natalie Portman, in the 1994 action thriller, Léon: The Professional. From the costumes and accessories to the short fringe haircut, the characters share a similar appearance. (1, 2)
9. The character of Nairobi was written for Alba Flores.
Soon after the show aired, Nairobi became a fan favorite. Everyone loves the cool-headed, single mom turned expert forger. That is why it is amusing to think that the series originally did not have the character. However, when writing the script, the creators realized that the series just does not work with Tokyo as the only woman in the gang. Alba Flores, who has worked with Álex Pina on another project, was offered the role and the character was written specifically for her. (1, 2)
10. Álvaro Morte bagged the role of The Professor after five auditions.
The Professor, played by Álvaro Morte, is certainly the most enigmatic character of the series. We see him as this socially awkward genius who ends up caring deeply for the members of the gang. It’s easy to admire and love The Professor, and that is mainly because Álvaro Morte makes the fictional character come to life and feel real. However, the role did not come easily to him. In an interview, Morte said that he had to do five auditions over the course of two months before he was chosen for the part. (1, 2)