Carlos Montero Teases Netflix Medical Drama ‘Breathless’ (Respira) In Tres Cantos Set Tour

Netflix News
Carlos Montero Breathless Series Netflix Tour

Pictures courtesy of Netflix

We were given the opportunity to visit Netflix’s big production hub just north of Madrid in Spain and tour several of its big sound stages. Here’s what we learned about the new series due out later in 2024. 

Showrunner Carlos Montero was on hand to guide us through the massive two-floored hospital set, which takes up one of the ten sound stages at the 22,000-meter squared complex, making it the largest in the European Union. He is best known for his long-running Netflix series Elite, which he co-created with Darío Madrona. Other released projects include The Mess You Leave Behind, Feria, and In Love All Over Again.

Larry Tanz, VP of Content for EMEA, and Diego Ávalos, VP of Content Spain, Portugal, and Nordics, were also on hand throughout the set tour.

Sound Stage In Netflix Tres Cantos Complex

Picture: Netflix

Talking about the show’s inception and themes, Ávalos and Montero said the major themes throughout the series would encapsulate life, death, and suffering within its narrative.

That’s why they deliberately chose Valencia as the story’s location, contrasting the cold, clinical environment of a hospital with the picturesque and bright Mediterranean atmosphere.

The series follows the lives of doctors and residents at the chaotic and extremely busy public fictional Joaquín Sorolla Hospital in Valencia.

As with both of the major sets we toured, the attention to detail is immaculate, and the showrunner was keen to point this out throughout the tour. Modeled on real-life hospitals, we saw several rooms, including the entrance, a ward, pharmacy, hallways, and much more. The set is mostly a permanent structure, but moving walls allow certain rooms to be transformed depending on the script’s needs.

Small details like patients’ names on waiting lists, posters with Spanish and Valencian languages, and genuine labeling on bottles and medicines in cabinets create an immersive place to visit. If even half of that is translated on screen, it’s worth it.

Details come in through the imperfections, too. When he first turned up to the set, which took six months to construct from inception, he noticed everything was too clean and pristine and not what a working hospital would look like. To counter that, you can see scuffs on the floor where hospital trolleys would be used, blemishes on the wall, and other things that give the impression of a lived-in and used hospital space.

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RESPIRA. Blanca Suárez as Jésica, Alfonso Bassave as Lluís in episode 02 of RESPIRA. Cr. Carla Oset/Netflix © 2023

This importance to detail is particularly important with a series like Respira, given that most of the action, so to speak, takes place within the confines of the hospital walls. Indeed, 80% of the show was filmed on this sound stage, with the other 20% taking place on location in Valencia.

The attention to detail goes beyond set details, too. The series employed real doctors as consultants to ensure medical accuracy. They also designed the space to be chaotic, and that’s reflected in the number of staff and patients seen on screen.

Another detail the creator emphasized while guiding us around was the use of color in the hospital. The walls, chairs, and other elements all had varying colors. “We worked a lot on the colors,” Montero said through a translator, citing an example, “We put the red chairs to convey the feeling of uncomfort.”

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RESPIRA. Nawja Nimri as Patricia, Borja Luna as Nestor in episode 05 of RESPIRA. Cr. Carla Oset/Netflix © 2023

Respira / Breathless Planned for Multiple Seasons

Tanz and Ávalos suggested that the show is a big bet for Netflix and hopes to run for multiple seasons. Ávalos said the show had come together better than they envisioned when they first read the scripts and suggested they’re confident it’ll hit in Spain and the rest of the world.

Ávalos teased that development is already ongoing for more, saying, “[Carlos] is already halfway through writing season two, so we’re way ahead of where we want to be because we believe so much in the series.”

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RESPIRA. Juan Fleta as Anestesista 1, Borja Luna as Nestor, Aitana Sánchez Gijón as Pilar, Manu Ríos as Biel in episode 01 of RESPIRA. Cr. Carla Oset/Netflix © 2023

More to come from Carlos Montero

Ávalos expressed excitement for the upcoming release of Breathless and said Montero is always a creator who prioritizes the audience in his storytelling.

A new 8-episode series, Legado, entered production earlier this year and has been dubbed a “family saga drama” in the tour.

It was also teased that Montero wouldn’t leave the Netflix stable anytime soon. In fact, Ávalos jokingly said, “If he ever wants to retire, he actually has to get approval from me.”

That’s all for this write-up about the visit to Netflix’s Tres Cantos studios; we’ll have more to come throughout the remainder of this week.

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