Money Heist star Pedro Alonso always dreamed of doing a sci-fi epic — with Awareness, he’s made it true in a delightfully unexpected way.
The Spanish actor, who skyrocketed to fame thanks to Netflix’s hit series Money Heist and will reprise his role later this year in spin-off series Berlín, stars in this movie now available on Prime Video.
Directed by Daniel Benmayor (Netflix’s Xtreme), the story imagines a futuristic world where a young man named Ian (played by Carlos Scholz) goes on a journey to uncover the truth about his incredible powers, which allow him to create visual illusions with his mind.
After being on the run for most of his life, Ian now has to survive while two rival organisations try to take advantage of his rare, raw power.
In an interview with Digital Spy, Pedro Alonso reveals his thoughts on the script the first time he read it, saying the story echoes other sci-fi iconic films like Matrix.
“Ian is a bit like Neo,” he offers.
“There was something about the replicants as well,” he points out, referencing Blade Runner, while also drawing some comparisons with Alice in Wonderland.
“I liked those echoes because there was a way of fitting them in a way that was personal and genuine.”
However, Pedro Alonso is not the hero of this sci-fi epic — he’s his father.
Although it wasn’t the first possibility for him in the movie, having been considered for other major roles in the story, Benmayor saw potential for the actor as a grounding father figure. Somebody who, far from the high-stakes action sequences, could give deeper meaning to this dystopian reality.
And Alonso was more than happy to do just that.
“Beyond the obvious, which is that it took me out of my comfort zone and I got to play a different character, there was something in the situation that implied that in some way I was the emotional core of the film,” he explains.
Alonso’s character tries his best to protect Ian from those dangerous forces around him, but he’s a normal non-powered person. He is amusingly out of place, a sort-of traditional Spanish comedic archetype, “in a film about flying kicks, searches for the Chosen One and crazy superpowers.”
It’s not what you see every day, that’s for sure, but the actor’s choice was a thoughtful one.
“The material I was working with was very dense: love and a toxic overprotection, so it was very important to regulate it in some way with some sense of humour — the big challenge was trying to move on that swing and help Ian shine.”
Now, despite being the beating heart in the story, this father is not all righteous.
“He has lived long enough to have the feeling that someone with that purity, that innocence and those abilities is going to become a commodity, but he also ends up being someone who manipulates him,” he explains.
“That was cool to me. I like it when stories don’t cheat, but open up questions that the audience will then react to from their own sensitivity.”
Awareness tackles some big topics, mainly focusing on how power can become a corrupt force.
“I don’t want to deny this is an entertainment film,” Alonso clarifies, “but I love knowing that there are ways in which you can add more to it.”
“If there is a great theme here, something that turns us all around and makes us dance, that’s power — what generates power, what implies holding power, and how it connects with your own gifts and talent.
“Also what that power can generate around people when light and shadows are not balanced.”
How power can get out of hand was also very present in the character of Berlín, the charming-yet-controversial bank robber who made Alonso globally famous back in 2018.
In Money Heist, Alonso was a key piece in The Professor’s master plan to rob the Royal Mint of Spain, and he became a fan-favourite among the fans around the world.
Turned into an unexpected phenomenon, the show became one of Netflix’s most-watched shows of all time, popularising (again) the Italian anti-fascist song Bella Ciao and elevating its cast to the international stage, most notably Úrsula Corberó (Snake Eyes) and Álvaro Morte (The Wheel of Time) alongside Alonso.
“So many things have happened in the last eight years… Even though I am still in amazement mode many times, there are certain scenarios that you begin to normalise,” he points out about the international interest in his new film Awareness.
“I have been a Spanish working-class TV actor, a survivor against all odds, who suddenly just now happens to be at home just enough.”
Awareness is now available to watch on Prime Video UK.