Disney+ has expanded National tax franchise with National Treasure: Edge of Historybut this time the story was written with the specific intention of putting women, including women’s history, at the forefront of the adventure.
“I think it’s exciting. I think it just reflects the times, said the show’s main star Lisette Olivera Yahoo Canada. “I think our series is doing well [is] reflect a world I’m used to.”
“I have very strong women in my life … and so do other people in this world, and I think everyone deserves to see their own hero.”
“It’s Literally History”
National Treasure: Edge of History largely revolves around Jess Valenzuela (Lisette Olivera), a DACA recipient living in Baton Rouge. Through an interesting and mysterious family connection, Jess embarks on a search for a hundred-year-old treasure with her friends, the techie Tasha (Zuri Reed), the energetic Oren (Antonio Cipriano), the logical Ethan (Jordan Rodrigues) and Liam (Jake Austin Walker) who also have a family connection to the treasure. To get to this treasure, Jess must outwit black market antiques dealer Billie, played by Oscar winner Catherine Zeta-Jones.
“It is literally history. It’s a really female-driven show, and I think there’s something extra special about having a woman in the lead,” Zuri Reed said. Yahoo Canada.
“I was really excited to play someone who was so smart, yet so confident and always spoke her mind. Tasha is so lovely and she’s literally a technical genius, but she always wants to tell you exactly what’s going on and she doesn’t really want to sugar coat anything.”
Lyndon Smith plays FBI agent Ross, who was top of her class at Quantico, but a mistake sent her to the Baton Rouge office. Smith emphasized that National Treasure: Edge of History not only has women at the center of the story from a character/actor perspective, but it also highlights female-centric history as part of this adventure.
“I think a lot of the stories, the stories of history that I grew up learning about, were male moments in history,” Smith said.
“So I learned a lot on the side, and then we have very, very strong women leading this front. It’s kind of cool to see women taking the reins of history… These were like OG feminists.”
Particularly unique to this narrative is also Jess’ struggle as a DACA recipient that is shown. People who receive DACA in the United States, which stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, are undocumented immigrants who arrived in the country as children and are protected from deportation.
“I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity to step into her shoes for a couple of months,” Olivera said. “I learned a lot about what Jess goes through on a daily basis, people who receive DACA have a lot of limitations and they live with a lot of caution and fear, most times, and they’re taught to keep their heads down.”
“But I find with the stories I’ve heard, a lot of them have very similar qualities in the sense that they’re all very determined, hardworking and have a very big heart to do good. I think that’s very special, especially with Jess .The treasure is incredibly important to her because of the connection [with] her family, because she cares about her family very, very much. I think it’s very special, everyone wants to see a young woman become the hero she was always meant to be.”
“We’re not redoing this, we’re reopening this world”
With the 2004 film National tax beloved by many, with actors such as Nicolas Cage, Jon Voight, Justin Bartha, Diane Kruger and the late Christopher Plummer, the cast of National Treasure: Edge of History is clearly facing an audience with existing thoughts and feelings about what this story, and this franchise, should look like.
“We definitely knew there was going to be a weight on our shoulders, we have a mantle to uphold here, but what I tend to tell people is we’re not starting this over,” Lyndon Smith said. “We’re not redoing this, we’re reopening this world. We’re expanding it.”
“We’re making room for it to continue to live on, hopefully, for years and years and years… You get a lot of favorite characters coming back… I always say you might not see some people that you wish you were seeing , but we only open this to continue to exist.”
One of the links to the original film is the presence of actors Harvey Keitel, and even more Bartha, to maintain that connection to the previous story.
“He’s so funny, it was really great to finally officially connect our worlds,” Olivera said. “I think having Justin there … was really a dream come true.”
“I couldn’t believe it, like just being able to see him cover while I’m off camera for another scene and thinking, ‘oh my god, I’m going to be in a scene with Justin Bartha’… I think he brought something fresh to every take, it was really cool to see his process.”
Additionally, the story is created by the original writers, which maintains that link to the tone of the film.
“I think the most important thing to remember is that it’s set in the same world as the original movies, so there are returning characters, there’s a lot of hidden easter eggs there from the original movies,” Antonio Cipriano said. “So I think just to expect, very much, a very similar kind of story.”
“It really just has that nostalgic factor, like Indiana Jones on a treasure hunt, and we really want the audience to solve these clues with us in real time,” Jordan Rodrigues said.
“It’s like putting on an old jacket, it just fits,” added Jake Austin Walker. “It’s also 20 years later, like the technology is right on and the way the clues are hidden is just a little more complex.”