Jessica Goldberg Q&A: ‘The Path’ creator
“The Path” creator Jessica Goldberg readily admitted during our recent webcam chat (watch above) that the idea for this show based on the inner workings of a cult came from her own existential crisis. “I had one of those moments that I guess most people go through where the foundation of your life suddenly feels like the rug gets pulled out from under you,” she reveals.
As she explains, “I had lost a parent and gotten divorced basically within a year.” From those experiences came the idea for this Hulu original starring Emmy-winner Aaron Paul as Eddie, a convert to a controversial movement who suddenly finds all that he knew to be true is totally false. “I had this idea of writing about what it feels like when your life just shatters.”
Goldberg, who worked as a writer/producer on the series “Parenthood,” also drew inspiration from her childhood growing up in Woodstock, NY in the ‘70s and ‘80s. “We had a lot of social/utopian experiments happening,” she recalls, “and there were a lot of people seeking various sort of meaningful ways to live their lives, and I was very moved by that as a kid.”
She also looked to current events for ideas. “Faith has become such a hotbed topic now,” she explains. “You can’t open the newspaper without reading about extreme faith and how it’s affecting the world.” However, she says, “I tried to veer away from cults, because I wanted to stay away from things that were negative, and instead look at where faith becomes extreme in Judeo-Christian religions.” She also tried to explore, “these countercultural movements that offer meaning, because I think that’s something we’re all sort of seeking.”
Ultimately, she thinks “The Path” is about the rift caused between Eddie and his wife Sarah (Michelle Monaghan) when he suffers his crisis of faith. “This is a really painful journey people have where there’s something they’ve stopped believing in that puts them in opposition to their family.”