Drew Crevello and Lee Eisenberg interview: ‘WeCrashed’ creators
There’s a version of “WeCrashed,” the Apple TV+ limited series that tracks the rise and fall of WeWork, that could have made co-founder and CEO Adam Neumann and his wife, Rebekah Neumann, into outright villains. But rather than cast judgment on the Neumanns, the show presents their actions and allows viewers to decide what to think on their own.
“We felt it was our job as writers to understand these two people as best we could and to really try to almost craft psychological profiles of the two of them,” co-creator Drew Crevello tells Gold Derby in an exclusive video interview. “And then from that, we reverse-engineered the characters through which we could tell this story. And you can’t do that you can’t really take a deep dive into someone’s life without developing empathy.”
Starring Oscar-winning actors Jared Leto as Adam and Anne Hathaway as Rebekah, “WeCrashed” is a limited series that recalls not just business-focused dramas like “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “The Social Network,” but relationship films such as “Marriage Story.” Portraying that core relationship was foundational for the show, says Crevello and co-creator Lee Eisenberg in our exclusive video interview above.
“For Lee and I as writers, for Jared and Anne, as performers, all of us invested so much time trying to understand them, that none of us had any interest in vilifying them or creating caricatures,” Crevello adds. “So I think the show that resulted, I feel like it surprised some people because they kind of expect a takedown…. You’re conditioned to want that raise the pitchforks and torches kind of thing at the end. But hopefully, we’ve created something that’s a little more complex than that.”
Crevello and Eisenberg are great friends, and the pair had been searching for a project on which to work together when Eisenberg was approached by Wondery about the “WeCrashed” podcast. It didn’t take long for Apple TV+ to show interest: Crevello and Eisenberg sent the streamer their pilot script and the general show outline on a Friday and had a green light for the series by the following Monday. Leto was onboard early too, but Hathaway took a little more effort to bring into the fold.
“With Annie, the earliest conversations, she said something in our first conversation that rocked me to my core, which was first she complimented us and said how great the writing was and propulsive and what a great character Adam was,” Eisenberg says. “I was feeling very good about myself. And I think Drew was feeling the same. And then she said, ‘But one thing: you haven’t cracked Rebecca yet.’ And as a writer on deadline, there’s no greater pit in your stomach. Also, knowing that the person that you have been thinking about for this role for months and months has basically said, ‘I’m not doing this part,’ was incredibly dispiriting.”
But Hathaway’s initial critiques led to a fruitful collaboration. “We were able to really kind of dig beneath the surface and talk about what makes both characters tick,” Eisenberg adds. “And so much of that, it informed what we had written up until that point and how the season progressed.”
With Rebekah, Eisenberg explains, a key to unlocking the character was her total commitment to whatever interest had caught her attention at that particular moment.
“Annie helped us bring that to the fore,” Eisenberg says of Rebekah’s foundational character trait.
“She’s not casual about it,” adds Crevello of Rebekah. “Everyone knows someone who is a little bit of a drifter. And they kind of try this and they try this out. We believe that Rebekah was someone that was all of these different steps – there’s nothing casual about it. She is taking all of the acting classes, she is going to India to study enlightenment, and she is becoming a practicing yogi. Like all of those things take time and effort and passion. It’s not simply, ‘Oh, I decided to be a yoga instructor and I take a class once a week.’ And so that was something that that kind of passion and attention was something that really came through.”
All episodes of “WeCrashed” are now streaming on Apple TV+.