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Pedro aka Berlin from Money Heist: I’m connected with mythology and culture of India more than films

ByMonika Rawal Kukreja
Aug 22, 2021 07:42 PM IST

Pedro Alonso, better known as Berlin from Spanish crime series, Money Heist, admits that while he has seen many Bollywood films, he doesn’t have a serious connection with Indian actors and it’s the mythology and meditation, that hails from India, which he is more connected to.

You may love to hate him, or hate to love him eventually, Pedro Alonso aka Berlin from Money Heist is one character that gets under your skin. Intelligent yet a man of fewer words, at times, idiosyncratic, his characters leaves an impact that stays with you ever after he dies on the show. In a candid chat with us, Pedro opens up about the trajectory of his character on the show, OTT boom, and influence of Indian culture, meditation and mythology in his life.

Pedro Alonso as Berlin in Spanish TV series, Money Heist (La Casa De Papel) on Netflix. (Photo Credit: Monica Suarez de Tangil)

For non-Spanish speaking countries, especially India, for them to fall in love with Money Heist, was quite unexpected. What do you think that one thing about your show which clicked with the Indian audiences?

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I am going to come to your country to have this conversation (laughs). But, perhaps, the convention until the other day was the Americans say to all the world, ‘How is this thing?.’ And suddenly appears a little creature from the Spanish industry and says, ‘We want to have a proposition here’. And the Americans look to us and say, ‘What, who are you?’ And we fight with a convention, ‘No, it’s impossible, who are you to try this.’ I received the sympathy of all the people, amid their troubles of the last year, those who were not the majority, the Italians spoke to me, ‘Oh, we did it’. This part of the phenomenon that we can win too, we can be in the centre of their scenario too, together, worked for our show.

I remember the first big festival we won in Monaco, the director said to me, ‘We are going to win first time today’. Perhaps he wanted to be empathic that Latins can do it, too. But finally, I perceived that it’s an aspect where we were opening a door to be competitive in a particular way not in an immediate way, with our idiosyncrasies. I will enjoy the cinematography of the Americans , I don’t want to say that I don’t enjoy work of many of the actors. I love (Hollywood actors) Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, but for sure, now we began to believe that we can find a way to create our personal creations and be competitive with these references. And this is way for all of us.

Any references that you can mention from the Indian film industry? Any Indian actor that you have heard about or their work?

No idea. In the last years, in Spain, we received Bollywood productions and they had a moment of presence here. Bollywood, for me, was a surprise for the level of the production and magnitude the Indian industry has. But, it’s the same that’s happening with us. We were here in our country and suddenly, we are flying around the world.

I have seen Indian movies sometimes, but I have no connection with a serious level with the actors of India, to be honest. If you ask me to name any Bollywood film, I won’t have any idea. But, it happens to me all the time. I have short memory and I am terrible with names. But I am connected more with the mythology of your country. If you see the paintings I make, I love the mythology of the Indian culture and the old knowledge of your culture. It’s something that says in my heart in a deep way more than the cinematography.

Have you ever been to India to derive all these references in your paintings? What else about Indian culture you connect with?

I have never been to India but I really want to go. It’s one of my challenges to go more to the orient because in my personal philosophy, the orient is very pleasant. Also, I have a personal connect with meditation, this changed my way to breathe in the last 15-17 years. As you know the cocoon of meditate way comes from your country, and I want to touch it with my fingers. I am really interested in this way to perceive the world and to tell that what is this that we are seeing in our lives.

You have done a lot of work before Money Heist made you a sensation among Indian audiences. If ever an opportunity comes to act in a Bollywood film, will you lap it up?

I love to travel and I do it all the time I can. And as I say, I have no figures of other cultures but I have different figures of Indian culture here. But, one of the things that I didn’t do so far in my life is travel to the Indian subcontinent,and I am going to do it. I don’t know when, but I will do it for sure. And fortunately, if I can, one day play in a movie in India, and to stay in India and work in your country, it is going to be great for me. I am going to do if it life lets me do it.

There’s so much curiosity and excitement among Money Heist fans in India for the final season. As an artiste, how easy or difficult is to for you to keep that interest intact when you are a part of such a long series?

As you know, I began to do this show playing a dark role, and I enjoyed it in a serious way. But at the end of the first season, I died, and towards the end of the show, after the show is going to continue, the writers told me they want to continue with my role, and I said, I’m going to be able to assist with this role if I’m dead because the most important point of the role was to be present and be the chaos. And this obliges me, and the writers to reinvent the role, and after its dark side, we had to offered luminous side of the role. So now, in the last season, we are going to find explanation to what made the role grow from in the particular way. Also, I’m working in an inverse way, not to the future, but I’m going to the past.

Since I I know more and more about the role each time I do it, I become the first spectator of this. So, I have the same curiosity that you have to see what happens in the last season. We know that the people of Money Heist are writing, writing and writing over and over again, so you see something in the script, and after that, you see another thing in the final cut. I have an incredible curiosity to see all the pieces of the puzzle that we are going to integrate for the last time, and then we all see what happens with that.

Berlin is one of the most layered characters that evolves with every scene. He’s good at one point and turns bad the next moment. Though while playing a part, you don’t necessarily need to be like them in real, are there any traits of Berlin that you relate with?

Yes, yes! I don’t imitate. When I work or play like an actor, I don’t act to find two scenes of imitation. I discovered that was not my way. I try to find notes in the role that has correspondence with my notes. I am Berlin, but in a very specific side of my nature, and that’s what I amplify on screen. There are two things I would like to say — first is about the way of breathing of the role. This is a character that breathes in a different speed and is able to stop the time and look the life with the freedom to take the space to indicate the emotions. This is amazing for me, as the mystery of the actors is to be able to stop the time.

Secondly, I think what got me interested more and more is that Berlin is an intelligent man and is able to take his time, to look at the person and start to disassociate between the brain, heart and the acts. He is perverse but he can recognise the inconsequence and then he begins to play. This tool is almost like epiphany.

After the show released on an OTT platform in India, audiences here got hooked to it for the variety it offers — fight, action, romance, betrayal, thrill, suspense et al. Do you think the web has made it easier for a Spanish show to become a global sensation?

For sure, yes. Five years ago, I couldn’t imagine I will be sitting in Spain speaking to the people of India. It’s something that is new for all of us. But at the same time, it’s offering a new world of possibilities that we are beginning to explore. Somewhere, I feel we stole the general American cinematography and made it and played it in our Latin, in our minority way, giving them something more emotional. The writers are super ambitious, they are working with these aspects of style that the show has all emotions mixed into one. And last season is something epic like a war because they try to renovate each try and with the nuances, put us in difficulty again and again (laughs).

Interact with the author on Twitter/@monikarawal

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