Disney+ has selected its lead actor to portray Jess Morales in the upcoming National Treasure TV series. Back in 2004, Disney released the first National Treasure film starring Nicolas Cage as Benjamin Gates, a man on a hunt for a secret treasure that leads him to make some unsavory decisions regarding priceless artifacts in U.S. history. The second film, National Treasure: Book of Secrets was released in 2007, but aside from that, Disney hasn’t done much with the franchise. That is, until recently.
Last year, Disney+ announced that it was developing a TV show based on the National Treasure story. But rather than bringing Cage back as Gates, the story will center on a young Latina protagonist named Jess Morales. Jess is a DREAMer, which is a so-called unauthorized immigrant to the U.S. who entered the country as a minor and can gain residency once they are 16. She’s in search of answers about her family, which leads her to a once-in-a-lifetime adventure that uncovers some unknown truths from the past, including some secret treasure.
According to Deadline, Disney has selected Lisette Alexis to take on the role of Jess in the upcoming series. Alexis is an emerging young actress who’s starred in projects like the horror flick, We Need To Do Something, and the Total Eclipse TV series. As of now, Alexis is the only cast member to be announced on the project, but the new series now has its face. The National Treasure series will be directed by Jon Turteltaub and written by Marianne and Cormac Wibberley.
The upcoming series is being executive produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, who was involved in the original films. Bruckheimer first teased that the series would center around a new, younger crowd of treasure hunters. And considering Jess’s identity as a DREAMer, the show won’t shy away from America’s oftentimes dark past involving immigration. Disney also has a chance to give a more accurate retelling of historical events.
It’s unknown the exact approach Disney will take to tell the story of a historic-dense treasure hunt. The first film relied on Cage’s character, who was an unexpected hero with a wealth of historical knowledge. It was very traditional in the sense of patriotism and retelling the story of America from a typical textbook point of view. However, with Alexis taking on the lead role, the National Treasure series has a chance to retell a great treasure hunt tale, without shying away from topics that aren’t always at the forefront of American media.