The new Apple TV+ series WeCrashed captures the fascinating rise and fall of commercial real estate company WeWork while exploring the complicated relationship between charismatic founder, Adam Neumann and his wife and muse, Rebekah, played by Oscar winners Jared Leto and Anne Hathaway. Emmy talks to the creators, producers and cast of the new series based on one the biggest business stories of the past decade. The award-winning official publication of the Television Academy hits newsstands today (March 21).
The WeWork saga has the makings of the perfect television series with its main characters including the uber-rich, venture capitalists, real estate developers, show-biz celebrities, even royalty. Founded in New York City in 2008 by Adam Neumann, an Israeli immigrant and entrepreneur, WeWork was essentially a real estate operation creating and renting co-working spaces, but it was positioned as a tech company with a valuation that rose to $47 billion in less than a decade. All the while, the company was losing millions of dollars a day.
Some called WeWork a cult and Neumann a prophet. He often discussed world issues and talked about bringing peace to the Middle East, but he also nurtured a culture that included dance parties and free beer. "It's a weird kind of cognitive dissonance to claim you're raising the world's consciousness; but offering a really fratty, bro-y culture," says Drew Crevello, co-creator and showrunner. "Insisting that you're creating a vegan, plastic-free, carbon-free company while having a private jet? Something's gotta give there," adds Hathaway. WeCrashed takes a deeper look at a culture that included gender discrimination, sexual harassment and abuse.
Leto is well known for his method acting and disappearing into roles. In the emmy cover story "Face Value," co-creator and showrunner Lee Eisenberg recalls when he noticed a change in the actor. "We spoke to Jared for all of preproduction. Then one day he became Adam, and it was Adam we started talking to. Later, when we got into editing, we started talking to Jared again."
Leto acknowledges that he fully immersed himself in the eight-episode limited series. "It was a really deep dive," he says. "I don't know if the right word is 'monastic,' but I really had no life beyond this project for the six months that we were doing it. It kind of made me fall in love with acting again."
Hathaway was on board with Leto's approach to the character. "I only really talked to Adam. He was Adam, and I was Rebekah." The actors were so invested that they even used their characters' nicknames. "He would call me Rivka (Hebrew for Rebekah), and I would call him Motek" (Hebrew for sweetheart)," says Hathaway, who adds that Leto's process "...elevated all of us". Something opened inside me, some kind of freedom or trust. Maybe both? By take three we were spontaneously dancing as our characters, and I felt like I was floating."
Hathaway also fully embraced the role of Rebekah, who served as WeWork's chief brand officer. She became proficient in yoga, read spirituality and personal-development books and even became vegan by the end of the shoot.
WeCrashed is now streaming on Apple TV+.
Additional feature highlights from the new issue include:
- As the Emmy Award-winning series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel enters the 1960s, the production design team is striving to stay true to the times. In "The Ride of Their Lives," emmy talks to series production designer Bill Groom and set decorator Ellen Christiansen about what it takes to make the show look period perfect.
- Comedian, writer, director and actor Stephen Merchant has always been drawn to cross-genre, offbeat work including The Office, which he co-created with Ricky Gervais in 2001. In "Home, Sweep Home" Merchant talks to emmy about his new Prime Video series The Outlaws, based on stories from his parent's community services work in Bristol, England.
- In "Game Changers," emmy talks to Adam McKay, executive producer of HBO's Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty, a 10-part series that explores the Los Angeles Lakers of the 1980s and the impact of Black culture, Black athletes and Black entertainers on American culture.
Emmy, the official publication of the Television Academy, goes behind the scenes of the industry for a unique insider's view. It showcases the scope of television and profiles the people who make TV happen, from the stars of top shows to the pros behind the cameras, covering programming trends and advances in technology. Honored consistently for excellence, emmy is a six-time Maggie Award winner as Best Trade Publication in Communications or the Arts and has collected 52 Maggies from the Western Publishing Association. Emmy is published 12 times per year and is available on selected newsstands and at TelevisionAcademy.com for single print and digital copies as well as subscriptions.
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