‘Elite’ Creator Carlos Montero Shares First Images of New Netflix Medical Drama ‘Breathless’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Netflix and “Elite” creator Carlos Montero have reteamed on the new medical drama “Breathless,” and Variety has been given exclusive access to new first images from the show

Published Time: 09.05.2024 - 11:31:29 Modified Time: 09.05.2024 - 11:31:29

Netflix and “Elite” creator Carlos Montero have reteamed on the new medical drama “Breathless,” and Variety has been given exclusive access to new first images from the show.

“Breathless” is produced by Montero’s El Desorden Crea and executive produced by Montero and Diego Betancor. David Pinillos and Marta Font shared directing duties, working from screenplays by Montero, Carlos Ruano, Guillermo Escribano, and Pablo Saiz.

Alongside today’s photos, Netflix released a new synopsis for the show: “The Joaquín Sorolla is much more than a public hospital in Valencia where livesare savedevery day. Doctors and residents work their fingers to the bone in the frenetic pace of the emergency room, where tensions, emotionsandeven desire accelerate the hearts of a staff that lives increasingly on the edge. The arrival of a distinguished patient highlights the complicated situation of the public health system, lighting the fuse for what will become an unprecedented and drastic strike.”

Montero may be best known for creating Netflix’s global hit YA series “Elite,” but his young adult drama credentials go back much further than that. He is also the creator of “Física o Química,” an iconic high school-set series that 15 years ago launched the careers of Spanish stars such as “Money Heist” lead Úrsula Corberó and “Veneno” and “La Mesías” co-creator Javier Calvo.

Since the global success of “Elite,” Montero has shifted his focus to older audiences with other Netflix Originals, including “The Mess You Leave Behind” and “In Love All Over Again.”

“I’m 51 now and pushing myself to try other types of series,” he toldVarietyin a conversation. “I’ve always loved hospital dramas and felt like now was the right time to work on one.”

While Montero had long admired the medical drama format, his socially conscious spin on it emerged when he began to consider the impact that a healthcare work stoppage could have and its ramifications when considered alongside the Hippocratic oath.

“The initial idea for this show came from that paradox, that dilemma, that to save the health care system as a whole, you may have to abandon the patients,” he said. “It’sobviouslya very extreme premise, but I think there isa very richopportunity for storytelling there.”

Although Spain has a strong tradition of producing medical series for local audiences, the budgets available often meant that visual corners needed tobe cu -

t. The series of the past focused far more on dialogue and drama than surgery theaters and ambulance rides.

“Our directors have made a tremendous effort to give the show averymodern identity,” he explained. “I think there was unfinished business in hospital series in Spain, and although there have been somevery goodones, we never had the budget to make them look like theverybest American or European shows.”

Because “Breathless” has Netflix’s financial might behind it, there is far more action and visual peril than is standard in a Spanish medical drama. Some scenes are so intense that they sometimes have an almost thriller or genre vibe.

“In the big-budget American medical series, they show more of that kind of thing,” Montero explains. “There is almost a horror feelto itbecause it creates a very visceral reaction.Originally, there was more and more in each episode, but we realized we wanted to cut it back to only the essential moments because it couldget tobe too much otherwise.”

Another advantage of working with Netflix is that the streamer has an extensive roster of local Spanish talent who have become regulars in their productions. “Breathless” features a who’s who ofpopularSpanish actors, including multi–Goya Award nominee Najwa Nimri (“Money Heist,” “Open Your Eyes”), Aitana Sánchez Gijón (“Parallel Mothers,” “The Machinist”), Blanca Suárez (“The Bar,” “Cable Girls”), Manu Ríos (“Élite”), Borja Luna (“Untamable”), Ana Rayo (“Mercado Central”) and Alfonso Bassave (“Estoy vivo”).

We’ve only seen the first episode, but Nimri’s nuanced performance is predictably eye-catching. According to Montero, hers was the only character he created with a specific actor in mind.

“Najwa was the one name I had in my head from the beginning,” he said. “I knew she’d be perfect for that role.In fact,we waited for her to finish another job because we knew it would be worth it if we could get her.”

“Breathless” doesn’t have a specific release date yet, but there is very little work left to do on the show and we’d expect it to be streamable on Netflix soon.

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