Available on Apple TV+, WeCrashed stars Jared Leto as billionaire Adam Neumann. AlloCiné met the actor and the showrunners of the series to discuss this colorful character.
What is it about ?
A look back at the history of the start-up WeWork and its CEO, Adam Neumann. The company was on the verge of an IPO before suddenly collapsing…
WeCrashed creators Drew Crevello and Lee Eisenberg and lead actor Jared Leto answered our questions about the Apple TV+ series.
AlloCiné: What was your intention with this series on the WeWork company and the crash of its creator, Adam Neumann?
Drew Crevello: It all started with Wondery’s podcast. It was simply fascinating to listen to the story of the WeWork company. But, what particularly surprised us was the lightning success and the fall, just as dramatic, of the founders: this mythical couple formed by Adam and Rebekah Neumann. It was an irresistible idea to make a series of it. In the foreground is the story of WeWork but behind it is this sulphurous relationship between Adam and his wife that really interested us.
Lee Eisenberg: For me, what attracted me were the characters. The protagonists are at the heart of any story I work on. Some are fascinated by a story but for me, I need to have a connection with an individual. It’s the complexity of Adam and Rebekah that fascinated me from the start of our adventure with this show. At the beginning of their company I was so impressed with them that I would have probably invested in WeWork. But in the end I would have liked to warn them of their own ambitions, of their delusions of grandeur.
We really looked into their psychology, which motivated them on their crazy journey. We have done extensive research on their childhood and their rise. We literally created a psychological profile in order to understand what happened to lead to their crash. And why do we have a guy like Adam Neumann who not only wants to be a billionaire, but a trillionaire! What drives someone to this madness?
Why did you choose Jared Leto and Anne Hathaway to embody this disaster couple?
Drew Crevello: Adam is one of the best dream sellers of our time. It can raise more than $4 billion in minutes by showing people around its offices. We needed someone with unique charisma and magnetism. For us, Jared Leto was the perfect actor with the charisma of a rock star, which he is, and who could blend into the skin of Adam Neumann. He was the ultimate choice for us and we didn’t believe in our luck when he agreed to play this role.
And the shock for us was even stronger when Anne Hathaway agreed to play Rebekah Neumann. Anne knows how to show a seriousness, a reality, unparalleled. She never played with the clichés that are unique to Rebekah, but she knew how to give her a surreal and comic dimension. For example, there is a scene in the last episode of the series where an assistant prepares a green juice for Rebekah. And Rebekah/Anne ignores the assistant pretending that this potion is not to her liking; it’s hilarious. Few actresses can pull off this scene, but Anne was perfect.
Lee Eisenberg: Especially since we didn’t want to take a position on who Adam really is: is he a crook? Is he an opportunist? Is he really honest and blinded by his passion? So we needed an actor who could play with this ambiguity of identity. Jared was exceptional in his performance. We really wanted to create a series that shows that life is not simple, is neither black nor white, but that everything evolves with shades of gray, for better and sometimes for worse.
It was truly a unique challenge.
Jared, how do you get into Adam Neumann’s shoes?
Jared Leto: I really invested myself thoroughly to learn everything I could find on this fascinating character that is Adam Neumann. I read books about him, listened to Wondery’s podcast and also watched the documentary that was made about them. And I’ve spoken to many people who knew him and worked for him. We have all worked hard to understand who he is and what drives him. It was a unique and powerful experience.
Tell us about your collaboration with Anne Hathaway.
Jared Leto: It was truly a unique challenge for both of us to portray such complex characters. It was a perfect collaboration in order to re-create Adam and Rebekah and their unique and explosive relationship, full of passion.
What were the biggest difficulties to overcome to become Adam Neumann?
Jared Leto: The biggest challenge in becoming Adam was his physical appearance and the way he occupies space. He is always passionate and he is always bigger than the room he occupies. It was not easy to keep up with this intensity, especially since we were filming for more than six months. It was like we were shooting six movies at once and it’s exhausting.
But I liked playing this character for so long because I was able to really go after him. Not to mention that his Israeli accent caused me some problems because it was not easy to copy his voice and maintain his tone throughout the filming. All these were important keys for a perfect execution of this role.
For you, what are the themes evoked by this series, the messages that should be retained?
Jared Leto: It’s a series about the dreams an individual can have and how he manages to make them come true. I think it’s important to dream in life even if sometimes you pick yourself up. It’s also a look at the pride that lies dormant in all of us and how Adam struggles to deal with it. You have to know, sometimes, to come back down to earth and stay rooted in reality.
It is also a metaphor for the trap created by success, money and power. In the end, it is a study in the imperfection of our humanity. We are all a little too fascinated by money, we are all greedy. But we also have, all within us, a great sense of generosity. For me it was fascinating to explore all these facets of our human condition.
How do you explain that we all want to become rock stars and have our “15 minutes of notoriety” as Andy Warhol said? We’ve become so narcissistic and delusional, right?
Jared Leto: Yes, of course, that’s a good question. For me, who is both in a rock band and also an actor, it helped me enormously to play the role of Adam Neumann. He’s sort of a rock star. I think we are all drawn to heights, to flying towards the sun. But be careful not to burn your wings! This is the eternal message of the myth of Icarus.