Lee Eisenberg Interview: ‘Little America’ creator

“The hope of the show is to say we are all going through the same things,” explains co-creator Lee Eisenberg about the Apple TV+ series “Little America.” Watch our full exclusive video interview with him above. He continues, “In the press it can feel like ‘the immigrants are terrorists, dangerous and are going to take our jobs away.’ Whether the person looks like you, you see yourself in others. People from different communities can be struck by different episodes. First and foremost, we want to entertain and tell stories but it’s a reminder that we’re not as different as we are led to believe. When you see it personified in one person rather than a cluster of a hundred thousand it feels very different.”

“Little America” is an anthology series, where every episode tells a true story of an immigrant living in America. Eisenberg developed the series with Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani. He reveals, “To do a show like this, every episode is a mini movie. You’re hiring cultural consultants and dialect coaches. We’re casting all over the world. We had an episode where we were casting all over Uganda. We got an email in that said the village lost its electricity and the Embassy is only open on Friday. We ended up casting a teacher who lived in Boston. There were no sets. I worked on “The Office” for years, we built all of that. With this, we were on location for every day but one. You are constantly scrambling for locations. And so many of the episodes are periods where you have to get the costumes right and get the cars right.”

In the first season, Eisenberg, Gordon and Nanjiani wrote “The Rock” episode. On choosing that episode to scribe, the writer says the episode was about “somebody trying to get rid of a rock. They had this indomitable spirit. We thought the episode had a lot of humor and a lot of heart. We loved the dynamic between the husband and the wife and the father and son, who’s more Americanized. All of those themes were things we wanted to touch on. We like that it ended where you don’t know what is going to happen.”

Eisenberg explains how for the episodes “we are touching on similar themes while making sure each one is its own thing. We didn’t want to tell stories where every single immigrant is at the top of their field or has a superpower. We also didn’t want to tell stories where they were ‘woe is me.’ We wanted the stories to feel as human as possible. There’s comedy in tragedy and things can be tragic in human situations. We wanted, in half an hour, to bring them into this world. Whether that was a motel in Green River Utah or 1981 Oklahoma, you could invest in a character that you had often never seen before as the lead of a show.”

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UPLOADED Apr 14, 2020 12:52 pm