Binge the Spanish teen murder soap Élite, then get to know star Miguel Bernardeau
Élite is a glossy, extremely addictive, murderous teen drama from Netflix via Spain that needs little translation — it’s the story of spoiled Madrid high schoolers who act out when three scholarship kids join their class.
Sex, drugs, bullying, and elaborate construction finance scandals (parents, sigh) are all the backdrop to a murder investigation. Postmortem police interviews are intercut, Big Little Lies-style, with over-the-top parties (think The O.C. or Gossip Girl) and surprisingly smart, sweet, star-crossed young love.
The show would make for a great Friendsgiving weekend binge-watch. Unless you’re a native speaker or your Spanish comprehension is at the college level, you’ll have to put down your phones and read the English subtitles together — in between screaming at the TV at each twist and turn. (You may need to adjust the settings in Netflix or on your TV so it doesn’t default to the far inferior dubbed English option.)
Don’t freak when you finish eight episodes with so many questions — season 2 is already in the works.
We reached out via email to star Miguel Bernardeau, who plays the pretty-boy ringleader Guzmán, to help break down season 1, his time studying acting in Los Angeles, and everything that’s still to come for the show. You can also learn a little Spanish prep-school trash talk with Bernardeau and his castmates Danna Paola (Lu) and Mina El Hammani (Nadia) in the exclusive clip above.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What American teen TV shows have you watched, and which were your faves?
MIGUEL BERNARDEAU: I watched Glee. I did watch a little bit of Gossip Girl, and Stranger Things is one my favorite shows. That would be my most favorite one right now.
Really what I’m asking is, are you more of a Dawson Leery or Dan Humphrey?
I haven’t watched Dawson’s Creek, so I can’t say. I’ll have to watch it and get back to you.
What have you binge-watched recently?
Peaky Blinders and Black Mirror.
What’s a U.S. show you’d love to guest-star or be a regular character on?
I would really really like to be in Stranger Things.
You lived in Los Angeles for a little while. What were you doing, for how long, and what was your favorite place to hang out? Any plans to come back (or move here)?
I really wanted to be an actor when I was younger. My parents knew that this was a hard industry, so they said that if I worked hard and got into the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Los Angeles, they would let me be an actor. So I worked really hard, and my last two years of school in Spain, I had to do both the Spanish and American versions of the SATs. I lived in Santa Monica for three years. It was a great experience. It was a good time for me to be on my own and trying to work. I was getting ready for castings. It made me mature really fast.
I really love sunsets and places without a lot of people, and I knew a rooftop in Santa Monica that was one of my favorite places to hang out. You can see all of Santa Monica. That was like my secret spot in L.A. I have a lot of friends and even have some family in L.A., so I miss L.A. sometimes, but I really love my country. I would love to work there, so if I get work in L.A. it would be a good opportunity for me to get back there.
You and your castmates totally blew up on social media with this show. What’s changed about how you approach your Instagram now that you have more than a million followers there?
It’s great to see how many fans of the show there are, but it hasn’t changed how I use Instagram. My Instagram is my personal account. I post some photos that I like because I do a lot of sports and I love my dogs and I take pictures sometimes, and that’s mainly what I use it for.
Polo [played by Álvaro Rico] seems so obsessed with getting Guzmán’s attention and being liked by him, but we never really hear more about what happened with them in the past to explain that. Any theories? What should we expect between them in season 2?
Guzmán has always been the dominant one, because it’s been crucial to how he has survived in the social hierarchy. Polo has always looked to Guzmán for guidance, and he likes to be controlled and doesn’t know what to do without Guzman’s advice, because it’s almost like he has become overly dependent and addicted to Guzmán. You’ll have to watch season 2 to find out, but you’ll see a lot of things unfold.
Fans are so obsessed with you and Nadia. What can you tell us about working together that we haven’t seen on screen? What are you rooting for to happen in season 2?
It was very interesting to portray our relationship where both of us are trying to be something and someone else that we’re not, and we both teach the other character the beauty of being you. If I had to say something to Nadia, it would be, “You are enough. You don’t need to be anything else, you are enough.”
In season 2, I want to see them grow even closer to each other and learn more about one another. It was beautiful to work with Mina, the actress that plays Nadia. She’s very special, and her experience is very relatable to the character. Her personal life was similar to Nadia’s, so that made us work from a very realistic, organic place. She taught me a lot of things about her culture. I have a lot of friends from a similar background, but it was very interesting to work with her from a relationship point of view.
I needed to learn how to confront a family that doesn’t accept their kids. We, as young people, are very different from what our parents lived in the past.