Money Heist star, Roberto Garcia, loves UAE embrace of show
Says it shows peoples' similarities
IF YOU THOUGHT Netflix's premier Spanish drama La Casa De Papel (Money Heist) has merely become a success as opposed to a phenomenon, you'd arguably be committing an underestimation almost as grave as the police force sent in to thwart the show's lead character, The Professor's (Alvaro Morte), convoluted and brilliant criminal plan. When The Prof and his gang of red boiler-suited, Salvador Dali-masked bank robbers enter Spain's royal mint in order to fill their pockets, the officers believe it will take but an hour or two to control the situation. Little are they aware, the academic's grand scheme for stealing billions of Euros is flawless and leads to a tense game of cat and mouse.
In a similar fashion the programme's producers may have thought this high-budget concept a one-off serial; perhaps the talk of the summer, but no more. To date La Casa De Papel has celebrated three seasons and we eagerly await the fourth. In the UAE, out of everything streamed on Netflix, the third series was the seventh most popular release of 2019. Who could have possibly imagined a non-English or Arabic language production would achieve such ratings over 7000km away from where it was made? Full credit has to go to the writers, direction and most of all the fantastic actors who portray characters with whom we fall in love, hate and sympathise (or sometimes all three) as a result of their terrific work. Morte's The Professor oversees a group of outlaws all named after cities of the world. There's Tokyo, (Ursula Corbero) the unpredictable lost soul never content with her current situation; Nairobi (Alba Flores), a tempestuous forger with a heart of gold and Rio, (Miguel Merran) the lamb of the pack whose emotions are constantly being tested.
Appearing from the beginning, Oslo and Helsinki (Darko Peric) are cousins. The two are muscled veteran Serbian soldiers brought in to beef up the operation. Played by Spaniard Roberto Garcia, Oslo, like his onscreen relation, is in truth a gentle giant (exceptions occur) and helps foment the Robin Hood effect the band evokes; capturing Spain's imagination with their direct attack on federal and corporate greed in the show and the Netflix-watching population's attention out here in the real world.
"I have only been in the hotel for a little time, but everyone wants a picture with me," a surprised Garcia told us during a recent trip to Dubai for a La Casa De Papel themed party in the DIFC area. "I love the people and the city. I know them and they know us. It is incredible."
Garcia who enjoys attending the increasingly popular get-togethers where fans dress up as characters and celebrate the show said the fact a programme originating in his homeland found an audience in the UAE highlights the similarities we share regardless of nationality.
"I didn't think Dubai people have seen the series. It's strange for me. In Spain you think Dubai is different, but actually you see people are the same all over the world."
On how he was finding his brief time in the Emirate, Garcia stated everyone he had met so far had been very kind, a welcome he did not wholly expect though credited to the famous Arabian hospitality of which he had heard.
For fans of the heist drama, explaining to others why we find the story so compelling is easy, but we wondered if someone who had their name in the credits could do the same?
"Because it's a very good series!" came Garcia's matter-of-fact reply before nodding to the characters who he believes are unique across the television landscape.
"I still watch the show because I am also a fan.
"This show has been a big step in my career and now I am shooting a movie in Spain and after that another one. It wouldn't have been possible without this journey."