Beirut is now part of Team La Casa de Papel… Kind of.
Hovik Keuchkerian, who is known as Bogotá in the 4th season of the blockbuster Netflix show, was born in the Lebanese capital in 1972. Keuchkerian spent the first three years of his life in Lebanon with his Armenian father and Spanish mother.
With the beginning of the civil war, the Keuchkerian family decided to emigrate away from the fighting and ended up in Alpedrete, Spain. There, Hovik’s father started a bar, where the adolescent would-be star worked as a waiter.
When Hovik reached the age of 20, he packed and moved out to Madrid where, 3 years later, he would open a gym called The HK. The gym only recently closed, in 2015, after about 20 years of business.
In 1996, Keuchkerian won his first kickboxing championship. A few years later, he turned professional and went on to seize 15 victories and a single loss over the course of his combat sports run, before hanging his gloves in 2005.
Only after his kickboxing days were over did Hovik Keuchkerian gravitate towards the non-martial arts. Being a natural joker, he was encouraged by one of his friends to pursue comedy as a career, and so he did.
After a while of doing standup comedy, Hovik Keuchkerian landed several roles in TV shows and short films, for which he won numerous awards.
The start of his drama acting career is linked to another Lebanese icon: Writer, actor, and theatre director Wajdi Mouawad. Keuchkerian performed in a play based on Visage Retrouvé, a novel written by Mouawad.
The play was a huge success and represented an exceptional milestone in the actor’s career. While he acted, Keuchkerian also wrote and published 4 books, the latest of which is called Resiliente.
In 2015, Keuchkerian played a supporting role in the Hollywood motion picture adaptation of the video game Assassin’s Creed.
Fast forward 5 years, and he’s now sporting the famous red jumpsuit as “Bogotá” in one of the world’s most popular shows, La Casa de Papel (Money Heist), which we won’t spoil for you.