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In the last minutes of Apple TV + WeCrashed, WeWork’s ousted co-founders Adam and Rebekah Neumann (played by Jared Leto and Anne Hathaway), seem to have risen to the top even while leading their company to a failed IPO. They were supposed to be going to the Dead Sea, in Israel, for a family vacation – with millions of dollars in their pockets. But in an ironic twist, the show actually ended with the pair getting salt in their eyes after learning they wouldn’t get a dime from the payout they thought they’d leave the company. .
WeCrashed, an eight-episode miniseries based on The Wondery’s podcast of the same name, toys with the concepts of winners, losers, smarts, and cheats as it depicts the rise and fall of the space business. common work. The show is tied together by the relationship between Adam and Rebekah, two who have strange ideas of their own greatness.
The Hollywood Reporter recently sat down with Leto and showrunners Lee Eisenberg and Drew Crevello to discuss Leto’s private meeting with Adam, the meaning of “cheat” and to answer the question of who really wins in a fight between a a crazy person and a smart person.
There’s a lot of content about WeWork’s demise. Why do you feel like “Okay, we need something else here”?
LEE EISENBERG What we’re excited to do is pull the curtains back a little bit. We talked to investors, former employees and former roommates [of the Neumanns] to create a 360-degree view of what the company is like – and what they are like. It’s something we don’t think we’ve seen [in the marketplace].
One storyline that actually appeared on the show involved the relationship between Adam and Rebekah. Why would you want to approach this series with that romantic angle, rather than a pure business story?
DREW CREVELLO People think we decided to do this as a love story, as some kind of narrative corner or some kind of gimmick or related. But really, when we listened to that great podcast and when we started doing some of our own research, that was the story as we perceived it. In Adam’s words, when he talks about the kind of founding myth of WeWork, Rebekah is at the heart of it.
The other relationship on this show that really stands out to me is the relationship between Adam and Softbank CEO Masa Son. [played by Kim Eui-sung]. It seems the expansion plan is actually driven by Masa telling Adam to be crazier. Why do you think Adam feels the need to impress him?
JARED LETO I really enjoyed my scenes with Masa. He is this father figure [to Adam] and it actually has a lot to do with the company’s trajectory – that kind of funding and encouragement from someone in a position of great power, look at Adam and say, “Hey, you know what? You are not crazy enough. Take this and just go. “I think at the time, they were really trying to raise a modest amount of money, say $500 million, and Masa said, ‘This is $4 billion. I don’t know about you, but I’m sure we’d all be perfect $4 billion managers if someone gave us the check. (Laughter.) But Adam told me that when they got that check, it was the beginning of the end.
EISENBERG The way we’ve structured the season, the end of episode four (of eight episodes in total) is Adam showing Rebekah an iPad for $4.4 billion [written on it]. The episode is called “4.4”. For us, that’s exactly what Jared said – it’s the beginning of the end, it’s the worst that can happen to Adam Neumann.
Why do you think it is like that?
EISENBERG Because the company cannot grow organically. At the beginning of episode five, they were opening locations around the world, but they were expanding at such a rate that there was no front door in one location or no functioning bathrooms. And so, starting out as a company that’s growing in a really nice way, gradually and you know the people that you’ve worked with and you can control the quality, all of a sudden, you can’t scale. there evaluate and maintain the quality of the company.
CREVELLO In episode five, when we were doing this montage, Adam went through various problems opening these international offices and he worked on different solutions, all based on the same problem. real problems and solutions faced by Adam. So one of them said, “We don’t have a working bathroom? Tell them to go to the coffee shop.” That was really. [what happened].
EISENBERG Examples that we do not use [because] I think we’ve run out of time in Buenos Aires. [That location] didn’t have their liquor license, and so on their first day, the SWAT team just stormed into WeWork and just seized everything because they didn’t have one. [the right to dispense alcohol]. They, like, shut down WeWork.
Jared, you’ve said before that you were a little hesitant to take on the role because you didn’t want to defame a real person. Now that you’ve been a bit off, do you think he’s a scammer? Is he a scammer?
STOP I wouldn’t describe him that way. When this happened, he was investigated by the SEC but never charged. He made a lot of mistakes and he did not succeed in running the company. [In the show] We looked at his biggest successes and biggest failures, but I was never interested [just] a two-dimensional caricature. That’s not my thing. I think it would be a richer experience for me as a performer and for the audience, if I did my best to explore the nuances, the humanity. We were all on the same page with that. That’s what I was interested in from the beginning – not only because this is a fairly young person with a family and children, but it’s a recent story. So that weighed on me a bit. When I met Adam, I said to him, “Look, this will never be you. It will not be your story. That is fictitious. I also told him not to watch it, and I think he said, “Why?” And it’s like, you’ve lived through it once already. But I’m glad I met him. I’m so glad I joined that meeting. I want to look him in the eye. I’ve got a list of questions for him, and I have to say, I like him a lot. I find him very attractive. It’s hard not to admire their relationship. They have a very deep and real connection. It’s been a really fun journey to take. I have never played someone who is still alive.
What did you ask him during that meeting?
STOP Much. And it’s nice to have everything confirmed because I’ve actually done most of the work, the character work. It’s not like meeting him will change everything, because my job is to cater to this beautiful script, the story these two geniuses have created.
Adam Neumann is trying to make a comeback. He has a new company that has raised about $70 million in funding. Given his WeWork leadership, I’m curious why you all think investors might still want to work with him.
EISENBERG From the people we spoke to, he was extremely impressive. I think he is an unrivaled salesman.
CREVELLO And by the way, a salesman with a great idea. WeWork is a great idea.
EISENBERG Seventy million dollars is also very different from 4.4 billion dollars. I think you just need a couple of people to come in and say, “Maybe he can do it again.” And hopefully, Adam has learned from his mistakes, as we all have from the things that happened in our past. I am not an investor. But it doesn’t seem so absurd to me that others have entered.
A question from the show: Who wins a war, the smart or the crazy?
EISENBERG Oh Boy. It is difficult. Who wins in a war? I think the madman will win a war. And I think a little bit about the show, and the people who ended up creating these giant companies, I think you need to have a little bit of madness in you. People whom no one trusts and whose ideas are out of the norm, I think those are the ones who have risen. When I think about smart versus crazy in this argument, it seems smart is color safe and smart in the lines. And I think the color is “unicorn” outside the contour.
CREVELLO I will say a crazy thing. Crazy people make the world go round. It is the engine of innovation. You need people who break things and disrupt and revolutionize.
What we have tried to show is [Adam] was a guy who gave someone a 12-minute tour and talked to someone about a $4 billion investment. But what does it say about the person who invested $4 billion immediately after a 12-minute trip? Some madness is good, it’s just lessons to be learned. And there is collateral damage, and the employees are the collateral damage here. So hopefully, insanity within limits.
STOP The answer is that no one wins in a war. But unfortunately, I also have to say crazy, because smart people probably think for a long time about the consequences before they throw their first punch.
The edited interview is long and clear.
This story first appeared in the June 15 issue of The Hollywood Reporter. Click here to subscribe.
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