David Weil Interview: ‘Hunters’ creator
“It became this quest to fulfill a birthright. It became this love letter to my safta–to my grandmother,” reveals David Weil, the creator and executive producer of Amazon Prime’s “Hunters.” The provocative series stars Oscar and Emmy-winner Al Pacino as the leader of a group of vigilantes hunting Nazis plotting to create a “Fourth Reich” in 1970s New York. In our exclusive interview (watch the video above), Weil explains how his personal history led him to create his first television series.
Weil’s inspiration for “Hunters” came from his grandmother, a Holocaust survivor who was imprisoned at Auschwitz-Birkenau. As a child he would listen to his grandmother’s stories about her experiences. “They felt like the stuff of comic books and superheroes,” Weil explains. “It was really the only way I could try to and understand the horrors that she went through, but also the heroism that she exuded.”
Although the first-time showrunner wrote the script for “Hunters” many years prior, things began to blossom once he showed the script to Oscar-winner Jordan Peele, who serves as an executive producer: “He is a champion of showcasing underrepresented stories, stories about people who feel other, stories about people who reclaim power and agency in a world that seeks to deny and destroy them.”
Despite proclaiming himself to be the world’s worst actor, Weil says he couldn’t have asked for a stronger cast, which includes Logan Lerman, Lena Olin, Saul Rubinek, Dylan Baker and Carol Kane. “It’s a murderer’s row of talent,” he exclaims, “and they have been not only the greatest actors, but the greatest collaborators, co-creators, partners throughout this entire process.
While he sees the show as a tribute to his grandmother, Weil also sees it as a chance to move beyond the typical media stereotypes of Jews as either victims or “ineffectual, intellectual Woody Allen-types.” “One of the things that I was hell bent on achieving with this series,” Weil says, “was being able to show Jewish characters with might and strength and heroism and defiance. He also sees the show as an examination of vengeance. “The show is a question…what is the difference between justice and revenge?” Weil declares. “And if you hunt monsters in the darkness, do you risk becoming a monster yourself?”