Cast calls 'Edge of History' series 'National Treasure' with normal people

The season finale of "National Treasure: Edge of History" airs Wednesday. Photo courtesy of Disney
1 of 5 | The season finale of "National Treasure: Edge of History" airs Wednesday. Photo courtesy of Disney

NEW YORK, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- The stars of National Treasure: Edge of History say that, unlike the first two movies in the franchise, their Disney+ series follows the adventures of amateur puzzle-solvers instead of seasoned experts -- and that puts a fresh spin on the beloved story.

At the center of the show are Jess (Lisette Olivera) and her group of 20-something-year-old friends from Louisiana who unexpectedly come into possession clues to hidden riches, which they then chase across the United States and Mexico, dodging authorities and the mysterious, but resourceful, Billie (Catherine Zeta-Jones).


"Jess Valenzuela is a super-genius and Tasha (Zuri Reed) is an insane technology specialist," Jake Austin Walker -- who plays Liam, grandson of Peter Sadusky, the FBI agent portrayed by Harvey Keitel in the films -- told UPI in a recent Zoom interview.


"But I think what is so cool about [the show] is that this group almost can make other groups of friends be like: 'We should give this a shot! We should try this!' In the first two movies, it felt like something only Ben (Nicolas Cage) and Riley (Justin Bartha) could do."

"Because they are official treasure hunters and we are just normal people," chimed in Antonio Cipriano, who plays Tasha's funny, smarter-than-he-appears ex-boyfriend, Oren.

"There is an escape room at the beginning and [the show] feels like an escape room because we are all just regular people figuring out these clues," Cipriano said.

Jordan Rodrigues, who plays Jess' ex-boyfriend Ethan, noted how much has changed since National Treasure was released in 2004 and its sequel National Treasure: Book of Secrets, which came out three years later.

"The show is a continuation [of National Treasure] decades later, so obviously, technology has gotten greater, the clues have gotten more complex, the gadgets that keep those treasures safe are very tricky," Rodrigues said.


Walker pointed out the first movie opened before iPhones existed.

"There wasn't Google or Wikipedia," he said. "We're no fools to the access we have to the Internet, and I think that plays a huge part in our show."

Reed described Tasha as a "tech genius who runs a social media platform where she schools her audience on Internet privacy and what it takes to keep the government out of your business."

"She is a very forward young lady about her thoughts and beliefs, but with Jess as her best friend, she is forced to re-evaluate that," Reed said.

"When it comes to this hunt, I don't think Tasha has any idea what exactly is about to happen, but she is such a ride-or-die that she will do absolutely anything to help her best friend."

Tasha and sympathetic FBI Special Agent Hannah Ross, played by Lyndon Smith, are probably the show's most skeptical and pragmatic characters, lending a sense of reality to the treasure hunters' escapades.

"There is all this adventure and there's love, but it's grounded in real-life relationships. It's grounded in actual history," Smith said.

"It's epic and fast-paced and wonderful, but it's also real, and I think all of these characters are linking puzzle pieces and very much representative of the world around us now."


Reed said she thinks having a large, diverse cast of young characters was a smart way to make the franchise accessible to audiences of all ages in 2022-23.

"You want to sit and watch something that the whole family can enjoy," she said. "We have normal lives, normal jobs -- that's something that everyone can relate to. We are just handed this crazy clue to a treasure that may or may not exist and our lives change."

The season finale of National Treasure: Edge of History airs Wednesday on Disney+

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