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Money Heist's Itziar Ituno on Falling for 'Professor', Bollywood Dancing and What Season Finale Will Offer

Image: Netflix’s La Casa De Papel / Money Heist.

Image: Netflix’s La Casa De Papel / Money Heist.

Actor Itziar Ituno, lauded by the viewers for playing the role of a competent police officer Inspector Raquel Murillo flawlessly, joined News18 for a chat from Spain to explain why 'Money Heist' is an intensely feminist show and what the viewers can expect from the last season.

Going by the massive popularity that Netflix’s La Casa De Papel aka Money Heist has garnered, it is time it gets a mention in discussions around the greatest shows of all time.

The series has turned into the most in-demand show globally not only for its intriguing plot & hatred towards the capitalistic system but also for its female characters who are fortunately not just presented as accessories to their male counterparts.

Actor Itziar Ituno, lauded by the viewers for playing the role of a competent police officer Inspector Raquel Murillo flawlessly, joined us for a chat from Spain to explain why Money Heist is an intensely feminist show, what the viewers can expect from the last season, the experience of filming it during the ongoing pandemic & more.

Excerpts from an exclusive interaction.

‘La Ca De Papel’ or ‘Money Heist’ is neither an English show nor an American production, but it is still the biggest Netflix sensation. What did you have to learn and unlearn while preparing for your part & filming the series?

‘Money Heist’ has taught me that whatever work you do, if you do it well, it can help you gain international recognition. We never thought that we will see such a huge success at an international level. The entire experience taught us that when you work with sincerity, it can take you very far.

After the intense ending of ‘Money Heist’ season four which featured Professor being held at gunpoint by Alicia, fans were left wondering what the future holds for him and your character Lisbon. Will Lisbon surrender? Will Alicia join the heist for her own revenge? What can the viewers expect from the last season?

Oh, I can’t tell that much. I can only speak in terms of what I’m seeing. And yes, the final season is going to be a bomb. It will offer lots of action, drama, comedy and tension. I still don’t know what the final season is going to be like as we actors don’t know it yet. But I can say that it is going to very intense. Since the series is going to end, the last 10 chapters have to be wow. You will see very powerful things & scenes.

I also feel that women will have a huge presence in the final because I think it is coming out to be a big war due to the situation they are placed in.

We are still shooting the fifth chapter. Every week we have to undergo tests and get blood tests done too to know how we are, and if we can continue or need to stop. It is true that members of the technical team got infected and we had to stop. There are a lot of changes. But we have the luck to keep moving forward. We are marching, moving ahead, rolling, filming, and we are laughing. Yes, it is not that easy. We carry masks & sanitizer to stay safe.

I also feel the last day or last scene will be very emotional for us. We all are going to cry a lot not only because the series will end but it’d also how the connect we developed with everyone in the team. We all were connected with this project.

Feminism plays a crucial role in the series which is further corroborated by the fact that it incorporated the idea “Let the matriarchy begin”. Is the sexism and feminist ideologies shown in the series reflective of Spanish society?

Well yes, it is a step forward towards gender equality. Right now, women are really active in this fight. ‘Money Heist’ also participates in this fight. The makers didn’t want women to lag behind which is why they launched the slogan “Let The Matriarchy Begin”.

Your earlier character Raquel Murillo is a competent cop but also undermined by men in her team. Ever experienced sexism & professional rivalry in your real life?

There has never been a moment when I was badly treated by men. Never happened to me. But yes, I witnessed these sexist attitudes in all the work I have been part of. Sexism is present everywhere. Yes, I have suffered sexism and I think all women have and that is why we are here to confront it. It is not true that we will get equal conditions. Most of the times, we work at lesser salary. You don’t ever get to hear about gender equality from a man because it doesn’t carry any weight and authority. I have experienced this a lot of times in both my professional and personal life. Fortunately, I was raised in a family where we were taught about the need to give equal opportunities to both genders. The slogan ‘Let The Matriarchy Begin’ is a step towards gender equality.

Would you ever fall for a man like Professor – someone as unassuming as him and who carries a nerdy sexy vibe – in real life?

I think yes, I like people with such behaviour, his charisma and his intelligence rather than a physical image. I give value to people who have worked hard inside more than outside. A handsome man who doesn’t have much here (in head) doesn’t impress me. I prefer someone intelligent, charismatic.

Dali masks and red costumes popped up in various cultures particularly after the success of ‘Money Heist’. Images from the series have also emerged as new symbols of protest for social justice issues. ‘Money Heist’ is clearly a part of the social fabric of Spain & other nations too…

Yes, the visual part of the series is very powerful. Dali masks and red costumes symbolize social movement and the passion to change things. There have been instances when people staged protests wearing masks & red costumes. Both have emerged as symbols of revolution which is beautiful and I like a lot. This fight (shown in Money Heist) is against the establishment, against the unfairness because of which some aren’t able to ends meet and others have so much wealth that can’t finish spending in the next 10 lives. This theme has turned the show into a worldwide phenomenon.

You were supposed to make an English debut with a short animation film ‘Salvation Has No Name’…

Yes, it was a short film. We couldn’t premier it because of the pandemic. It was left midway and they have not been able to complete it. It has been very difficult. They wanted to try English in different accents which is why they chose me. I even worked with a coach, but I don’t know how it is going to be. I have not seen it.

Are you open to Hollywood projects?

My problem is that I don’t speak English. I have to put myself into some course to understand the language. If someone comes from Hollywood or Bollywood & offers me an opportunity to work in their movies, I would accept them. Khans are very popular in Spain. I have watched some Bollywood movies because of their music & dance. In fact, I also completed a small course in Bollywood dancing. It was a trend here sometime back.

(Translation by Rahul Sawhney)