“My whole life is filled with newfound, wide-eyed curiosity and experience,” says Jeff Goldblum about this period of his life when he’s raising two young children and hosting and producing the National Geographic series “The World According to Jeff Goldblum,” which streams on Disney+. The series follows Goldblum on his journey to explore a wide variety of subjects and learn the stories and histories that make them meaningful. Watch our exclusive video interview with Goldblum above.
The 12-episode first season of the streaming series covered varied topics ranging from sneakers to ice cream to bicycles. With literally the whole world of topics to choose from, Goldblum and his “World According” team focused on “things that were familiar to everybody and that a lot of people particularly loved … and connected people in a real way.” Goldblum often goes in with fresh eyes to “learn along with the audience as we invite them along and discover unexpected, surprising facts and science about its history.”
The show also draws inspiration from Goldblum himself, finding topics that “might have an autobiographical relationship to me and might be a little Jungian dreamy kind of portal into something that could send me back into my childhood experiences.” Behind seemingly familiar things like denim, coffee and cosmetics is “a larger idea” that often touches on themes of community, identity and self-expression. “We take left turns in these. We don’t just go along the conventional track of what you might think we’re interested in.”
He was surprised how “emotional” the episodes were “while we were doing many of them, and finally when I saw them and saw what they added up to,” he adds. “I’m always interested in the human mechanism as not only a person but an actor. You’re always trying to figure out what the infrastructure is that causes any of us … to do one thing or another.”
And he’s interested in how humanity evolves over time, which we can witness through the communities and cultures he explores on the show, from traditional tattoo artists in Hawaii to professional video gamers in Dallas. He also cites the work of historian Yuval Harari, who has written about “this new threshold of technological disruption that we find ourselves upon,” which can be “helpful” but also “risky … The period we’re in right now is of course transformational, and it’s going to change everything.”
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