Netflix’s Money Heist sparks fierce transgender row casting Belen Cuesta as Manila in season 4 – The Sun

MONEY Heist, also known by its original name as La Casa Da Papal, has been accused of causing controversy with the casting of a transgender role.

The fourth instalment of the series was released earlier this week and the eight episodes included some big revelations.

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One bombshell came as another member of the heist gang was revealed to be one of the hostages.

Manila (Belen Cuesta) was identified in the fifth episode of the season when Denver (Jaime Lorente) and his father (Paco Tous) asked Juanito to join the team.

The professor (Alvaro Morte) initially refused the request when viewers were introduced to them in a series of flashbacks.

Introduced as Julia, the character revealed she had transitioned, making her the first transgender character in the series.

From that point on her codename was Manila and she began to play a big role in the war against Gandia (José Manuel Poga).


Belen Cuesta's character's introduction, however, has caused controversy among fans.

Cuesta herself is a cisgender actress and some were left wondering why there wasn't a transgender actress playing the role.

Fans on Twitter were quick to express their dismay at the casting, with one writing:“Now the question is… WHY NOT CAST A TRANS PERSON FOR A TRANS ROLE?”

Another added: “I am loving the new @lacasadepapel season, but with the little recognition and visibility trans actors have, would it have killed them to hire an actual trans woman to play Manila instead of having Belen Cuesta play her?”

Countless other similar messages were posted, prompting Cuesta to try and justify her casting in an interview with Spanish publication El Español.

She explained: “I understand the struggle of the groups of trans actors and actresses. Also, I support them very much.”

However, she insisted: “A cisgender actress can play a transgender woman or a transgender woman can play a cisgender woman.”

It's unclear whether an actual transgender person was in the running for casting.

Parts 1-4 of Money Heist are available to stream on Netflix.

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