‘Élite’: You Might Recognize These Three ‘Money Heist’ Actors (‘La Casa de Papel,’ Which Is Also on Netflix)
The Netflix dramas coming out of Spain are some of the best that the streaming giant has to offer. Money Heist (La Casa de Papel) has become a fan favorite for its gripping storylines brought to life with the outstanding performances of the cast, while Élite combines the best elements of Gossip Girl and How to Get Away with Murder to create an addictive show with countless twists and turns.
This may or may not have to do with the fact that three of Élite‘s cast members also star in Money Heist. It’s not an uncommon practice for actors contracted with certain streamers to star in multiple roles (à la Noah Centineo), and given the pool of talent in Spain and similarities between Élite and Money Heist, casting these three actors is a natural choice.
María Pedraza’s heartbreaking role as Marina Nunier Osuna on the first season of Élite was hard to watch, but being able to make us feel is the sign of a good actor. On Money Heist, Pedraza plays Alison Parker, daughter of the British ambassador to Spain and one of the people taken hostage in a heist.
In addition to Élite and Money Heist, María Pedraza is also a part of some other Spanish Netflix dramas: Toy Boy, also filled with scandal and crime, and Amar, a coming-of-age love story where she stars in the lead role.
Another actor whose time in Élite was criminally short, Miguel Herrán’s ability to go from class clown Christian Varela Expósito to expert hacker Rio is a great display of versatility from a young actor. On Money Heist, Herrán’s character Rio — a pseudonym in place of his real name, Aníbal Cortés — actually resembles Christian in many ways. He knows how to laugh and be lighthearted, even in the face of serious situations. It’s for this reason that he’s garnered so much love for his participation in both shows.
You can also watch Herrán in films like 2015’s Nothing in Return (which earned him the Best New Actor recognition at the Goya Awards — Spain’s version of the Oscars), 1898, Our Last Men in the Philippines, and The Invisible Guardian, the latter two also available on Netflix now.
On Money Heist, Jaime Lorente plays the young criminal Denver who joins his father in the heist. On Élite, he plays Nano, the older brother of Samuel (Itzan Escamilla) who often finds himself in and out of trouble while entertaining a relationship with Pedraza’s Marina. That on-screen chemistry spilled off-screen: the two have been an item since 2018.
A classically trained actor, Lorente studied acting at The Superior School of Dramatic Art in Murcia, Spain, and as the has appeared in the most productions as he’s had more years in the industry. He most recently starred in another Netflix production alongside Pedraza: Who Would You Take to a Deserted Island?, a drama released last year that sits in the same vein as Élite with secrets gone awry.