National Treasure is back thanks to a new series on Disney+, National Treasure: Edge of History. The show is bound to make Lisette Olivera a major star as she follows in Nicolas Cage's footsteps as the new face of a franchise. She plays Jess Valenzuela, a character she immediately "fell in love" with, Olivera told PopCulture.com.
In Edge of History, Jess and her friends search to understand the hidden clues to a treasure left behind by the Aztecs, Incas, and Mayans. Jess is a natural puzzle-solver, inheriting her skills from a father she barely knew. She dreams of using her skills at the FBI, but she knows her status as a Dreamer makes that impossible because the FBI only hires U.S. citizens. Jess and her friends also have to reach their goal before the opportunistic treasure hunter Billie Pearce (Catherine Zeta-Jones) gets there first.
Jess has way more than just puzzle-solving on the line while hunting the treasure because of her immigration status. "It was incredibly important for me to portray Jess' character with as much honor as I could. I think both of us are very determined people," Olivera said. "We're very ambitious, a little stubborn, but I think we lead with the heart and I think it serves us well."
Although Olivera has a handful of credits, Edge of History will be the first time many have seen her. The excitement that grew inside her eclipsed any pressure she may have felt about jumping from an unknown to replacing Cage. "I fell in love with Jess immediately after I read the script, and I truthfully just wanted people to get to see a different American perspective tied in with the same history and adventure and thrill that the movies brought," Olivera explained.
Although Cage isn't involved in the show (yet), there are still plenty of major stars in the show. Zeta-Jones is a member of the main cast, while longtime fans of the movies will be happy to know that Justin Bartha and Harvey Keitel reprise their roles. Olivera just took the chance to soak in all that acting knowledge. "Since the beginning, I had respected their process and I was just really intrigued to get to learn and take a few nuggets of wisdom from each of them," Olivera said. "So it was really cool."
Edge of History really hinges on the chemistry between Olivera and her co-stars Zuri Reed, Jake Austin Walker, Antonio Cipirnao, and Jordan Rodrigues. While it looks like they were friends for years, only Walker and Rodrigues knew each other. They spent a lot of time hanging out together in Baton Rouge, where the show is filmed. "I have specific memories of us having these dance parties," Olivera said with a laugh. "I'm pretty sure Zuri has recordings of us dancing around in Jake's apartment, I think, over there. But yeah, it was the first night we all got together. We felt like a family, and I think our natural chemistry is definitely going to show on the screen."
National Treasure: Edge of History premieres on Disney+ on Wednesday, Dec. 14 with the first two episodes. Subsequent new episodes will be released on Wednesdays. The show's executive producers include Jerry Bruckheimer, Jon Turteltaub, and director Mira Nair. Cormac and Marianne Wibberley created the series.