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Money Heist Creator Alex Pina Extends Netflix Deal, Greenlights Pandemic Series (Exclusive)

The new drama is set in a luxury underground bunker designed to survive a pandemic.

Alex Pina, the creator of Spanish-language Netflix hit Money Heist, has extended his global exclusive deal with the streamer, a deal that will include Pina’s new high-concept series inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The still-untitled series is set in a luxury underground bunker, where the country’s 1 percent retreat to escape catastrophe on the surface. Pina said the inspiration for the show came from a Spanish newspaper article published on Oct. 9, 2021 about rich Spaniards purchasing bunkers in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Some of the new shelters that were being built were luxury homes in the subsoil,” says Pina. “Up to 15 floors down, with exclusive services, such as cinema, pool, spa, gym and common gardens, with water and food to survive more than five years. An underground community for 75 people. And then we thought about what life would be like there. Social, family and romantic relationships, in an underground shelter to which they had hastily and exclusively fled.”

Through his Madrid-based production outfit Vancouver Media, Pina is also developing the Money Heist spin-off Berlin, a prequel focused on the back-story of the character played by Pedro Alonso in the original series. Berlin is set to premiere on Netflix in 2023.

Originally created for Spanish network Antenna 3 in 2017, Money Heist became an international hit on Netflix, which stepped in to bankroll seasons 3-5. The last five episodes of the original series dropped on Netflix Dec. 3. The show, which follows the cat-and-mouse adventures of a group of bank robbers and the police trying to catch them, was, before Squid Game, the most-watched non-English-language drama on Netflix, seen by 180 million households worldwide.

Netflix has also greenlit a Korean version of Money Heist, with Squid Game actor Park Hae-soo set to play the Berlin role.

In 2018, Netflix signed a global exclusive overall deal with Pina, one of the company’s first such agreements with a non-English-language creator.

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Pina said the success of his partnership with Netflix — in addition to Money Heist, Pina and Vancouver Media have produced crime drama Sky Rojo and the British-Spanish mystery-thriller White Lines for Netflix — was proof of the streamer’s “commitment to local talent wherever they are.”

“Pina is an innovative and creative storyteller who has inspired fans and aspiring creators around the world,” said Diego Avalos, Netflix’s vp content for Spain and Portugal. “After the great adventure that has been Money Heist, we are very excited to remain a home for him, Vancouver and all the stories that are to come.”

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