Spanish producer Alex Pina (L), Spanish scriptwriter Esther Martinez Lobato (C) and Spanish director Jesus Colmenar (R) pose during a photocall for 'The Pier' TV series as part of the Mipcom, on October 16, 2018 in Cannes, southeastern France. (AFP/Valery Hache)
The makers of "Money Heist", the most-watched non-English language series in Netflix history, premiered their new show "The Pier" Tuesday, a romantic thriller also set in Spain.
Its creators Alex Pina and Esther Martinez Lobato told reporters that the new series was equally gripping -- but in a "much more emotional way" -- as they gave a sneak preview of the first episode at MIPCOM, the world's top entertainment market in Cannes.
But while "Money Heist" (called "La Casa de Papel" in Spanish) takes place over 11 nail-biting days inside the Spanish Royal Mint as a crack team of crooks try to pull off the biggest robbery in history, "The Pier" is mostly shot outside in one of Spain's most beautiful national parks.
Pina, who is now working on a third series of "Money Heist", described it as an "emotional thriller and a big jump outside our comfort zone -- because it's a story with no guns".
Instead, "the guns and bombs" of the new show are its love triangle and the high-wire relationship between the two main female characters, said Martinez Lobato.
The eight-hour drama, which screens in Spain in January, turns on a high-flying Valencian architect who has to identify her husband's body after he is found dead on a pier in nearby rural Albufera after an apparent suicide.
Loving the other woman
But she discovers that he had been leading a double life and goes undercover to investigate, befriending and even moving in with his lover.
"After 'Money Heist' which was very complex, shot inside and quite claustrophobic, I wanted to do something very different with lots of emotion and big wide open spaces," said Pina.
Actor Alvaro Morte from "Money Heist" plays the errant husband alongside Spanish stars Veronica Sanchez and Irene Arcos, who are the heart of the series.
"I play a guy who dies in the first episode for several reasons but even I don't know what they are yet," Morte joked, with shooting still going on in Spain.
Pina told AFP that working on such an emotive show whose "essence is very like (the work of Federico Garcia) Lorca, of finding strength out of pain", was a "great relief" after being "locked inside" the more cynical and sceptical "Money Heist".
Part of that show's massive appeal was due to it being seen as an allegory of ordinary people fighting back against the system in the wake of the financial crash.
However "The Pier" is "a highly feminine journey of self-discovery, growth, and sensuality," said Martinez Lobato, who with Pina recently signed up to an exclusive deal with Netflix.
New part-English series
"It's about the ambiguity between good and evil, about the duality that every person carries within them," she added.
"It is an emotional journey for characters who are not young anymore but who are learning about themselves -- and amazingly one is finding out about herself through her husband's lover."
Pina refused to give away the series' final twist, but said the show sets out to contrast two worlds and two women.
"One woman is from Valencia, a highly modern, tamed vertical world with the other coming from a very different wild, horizontal rural one of rice paddies only a few kilometres away."
Christian Gockel of co-producers Beta Films said "The Pier" was "the hottest show coming out of Europe this year" and said the reaction from distributors was already "super hot", with a second series already in the pipeline.
Pina told AFP that he was working on a new series set between Manchester and Ibiza called "White Line" about a woman who goes in search of her brother's killers on the party island.
"The story is about the white and red lines we have in our lives. She is trying to find out who killed her brother and she is very impulsive. So when she stays within the white lines it is OK, but when she crosses the red ones, it's not.
"It is also about the other white lines," he quipped, meaning cocaine.
"The story is 30 percent England, 70 percent Spain," Pina added, saying he was also developing a project called "Red Vinyl".