Marta Milans talks ‘White Lines,’ Alex Pina and multilingualism

Photo by Sergio Lardiez

Marta Milans stars in the new bilingual Netflix series White Lines that premiered on May 15. The show is doing extremely well worldwide and comes from Alex Pina, the mastermind behind The Pier and Money Heist.

“Alex Pina loves to take things to the extreme,” said Marta who has worked with Alex before on The Pier. I had a lot of freedom to create Katia (on The Pier). I brought up a lot of creative license as to how to make her very much mine, and closer to who Marta is and a lot of my mannerisms, it was awesome to be able to bring a lot of meat into her. And I don’t know if it was because of that or what but when he called me to offer me the role of Kika, he told me a little bit about her backstory and I’m like, ‘Dude, did you just Google my biography? It’s pretty much my life.’ And I thought, if Alex Pina calls a second time, you clearly can’t say no to him.”

Despite Alex Pina writing the role of Kika for Marta, they are very different. Marta says she comes from a very supportive, close-knit family. They are similar though, in that Ibiza is very close to both of them. Marta says she oftentimes is bummed out by people who think it’s only a crazy party town.

Photo by Sergio Lardiez

“I didn’t want to do a show that was just going to glorify the debauchery, per se, like glorify drugs and orgies and sex and alcohol I said I feel that that is boring, not interesting and like it’s already been done… this show is about family,” said Marta. “It starts being so completely broken or f*cked up, and circumstances take place in the course of the season that make the characters that belong in their family want to kind of come together. And I thought that was really interesting because I had never experienced something like that.”

The main storyline in the show is the mystery behind who killed Axel. No one knew who Axel’s killers were, Alex kept it a secret.

“Not only did we not know, Alex was very adamant about us as actors, not knowing… in the dinner scene when everything comes out into the light, we still didn’t know except Marcus and Anna. And we only found out, the rest of the cast, later on, towards the end of filming episode nine that Marcus and Anna, the actors knew,” Marta said that she called Alex jokingly saying it wasn’t fair to keep that secret. “It’s a way to protect the actual true feelings of the characters in the scene, and as actors, you want to inform as much truth in that as you can.” 

Marta does believe that not knowing who killed Axel helped her keep Kika authentic.

“You see how marked Kika still is by Axel, by that love, that teenage phenomenon and she had to overcome that in a way. She ran away from it and I don’t think she ever recovered. She comes back to the island because he shows up dead and because of her journey into even wanting to befriend Zoe. Both Zoe and Kika were the people that truly, truly loved Axel… I feel like so much revolves around having lost Axel. If she had known, especially because of her relationship with Marcus towards the end of the season, It would have changed everything, both as a character, and as an actress playing the character, myself, I think.”

Marta was as surprised by Kika’s relationship with Marcus as we were!

“I called Alex. And I’m like, ‘What? Dude they’re gonna hate us because they’re gonna think that we’re completely bonkers insane!’” said Marta on when she found out that Kika was going to pursue Marcus. Marta believes that part of what makes Alex Pina brilliant is his ability to put people and situations together that you’d think are crazy. “I think of him as a Spanish Coen Brother in a way, but you have people that, in normal circumstances, would never be able to cope with whatever is happening to them and you just observe them handling the situation in the best of their capacity, and most of the time, they don’t handle it very well. As you can see, and I think what brings Marcus and Kika together is that they’re both broken people that gravitate towards one another because of how f*cked up they are.”

Netflix: Marta Milans as Kika Calafat

Speaking of season 2, there is no official word yet, but Alex is working on it and everyone is crossing their fingers, including Marta. The response to White Lines has been very positive.

Marta says because Kika has a ‘pair of balls,’ she could run the Calafat family. But Marta would really love to see how the relationship between Kika and her mother progresses.

“One of the things that stayed with me, even to this day, my entire career working as an actor, has been that hospital scene when the mother finally comes clear out to her and tells her that she f*cked her boyfriend and she paid him money to leave me. When you think about it, that profound betrayal that you feel from your own mother, not only not being protected by your mother but being challenged and attacked by her. That’s one of the saddest things that can happen to anybody,” said Marta. Kika isn’t upset about the truth, she’s upset that her own mother didn’t protect her.

“I mean that scene, every time I see it breaks my heart and I think it breaks my heart because of the profound negative impact that has on someone’s life and how you can break a child… but I feel like there’s a hope of forgiveness and coming close to one another. That eternal optimism that Kika has, I think it’s beautiful. She always tries to see the best in people, she always thinks that people have goodness in them. She’s the only character, I think in this entire story that is truly innocent in that regard. She still has faith in humanity, she is still willing to forgive her family, she is still willing to forgive Axel, and that there’s beauty in that and I want to see where that goes.”

White Lines switches between English and Spanish, but that wasn’t a problem from Marta. She speaks seven languages: Spanish, English, Russian, French, Italian, German, and Portuguese!

“It’s something that personally I’m really grateful for because shows like Money Heist, also created by Alex Pina, have broken boundaries. People all over the world, different cultures, different backgrounds, different ethnicities have gravitated towards a show that just happens to be in Spanish and happens to be filmed in Spain, but it’s still telling a story that could very well happen anywhere. And I feel that streaming platforms such as Netflix have accomplished that, it’s like bringing us all together like we are one human race. Let’s just tell stories that are interesting for many reasons, that are set in different locations, that have interesting characters. It doesn’t matter whether they’re speaking French, Italian, German, you can still relate to that and I feel that job has been very well done by Netflix,” said Marta.

White Lines is streaming now on Netflix.