The founders of coworking space WeWork, Adam Neumann and Miguel McKelvey, believed they were on the brink of making history. The company was valued at $47 billion dollars, ready for a huge IPO, and charismatic (some would say “over the top”) CEO (cult leader?) Neumann believed he was going to change the world.
So, what happened to a company whose valuation dropped $40 billion in less than a year.
That’s the question the new limited AppleTV+ series starring Jared Leto (who plays Neumann) and Anne Hathaway (who plays wife Rebekah), sets out to answer.
Based on the hit Wondery podcast WeCrashed: The Rise and Fall of WeWork, the series hails from Lee Eisenberg and Drew Crevello, and focuses on the love story between Adam and Rebekah at the center of it all. The series premiered globally on Apple TV+ on March 18, 2022 with the first three episodes, followed by one new episode weekly each Friday during its eight-episode season through April 22, 2022.
The series is slickly produced, as most of the AppleTV+ series are. From the opening title sequence, we sense that we are in for something visceral, provocative and entertaining. Consider it another feather in the cap for the talented team at Sarofsky.
Hollywood often turns to the Chicago-based company, run by Principal and Executive Creative Director, Erin Sarofsky, for stirring and ground-breaking opening titles sequences. Sarofsky has frequently created title sequences for director James Gunn including Peacemaker, The Suicide Squad, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 and 2, not to mention The Russo Bros.’ Cherry and Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Set to the infectious song Happy Man, by Jungle, WeCrashed begins with what resembles a typical day at the outlandish company, except for a white unicorn casually walking the halls. Watch below:
Reel Chicago had a chance to chat with Erin Sarofsky about the thinking that went into WeCrashed’s opening titles.
Take us through the development of the opening.
Honestly, it was so long ago and before they even began filming that we were engaged. The pandemic slowed everything way down, as it did for everyone. So I really appreciated that they wanted to home in on a concept early so that we had a good amount of time to make it.
We had a great download from Drew Crevello and Lee Eisenberg, and they really explained that the series wasn’t just the story behind WeWork, it was very much about the relationship at the center of it. Really about them as people and how that propelled it forward.
I am not sure how many rounds of creative were pitched before they knew it was going to be us, but it was a competitive pitch. And we did have the sense that we were connecting with them, so it all just felt right from the jump.
How long did it take to do the title sequence?
This is a bit of an unfair question because the pandemic slowed things down and gave us way more time than we usually have. Plus, we began concepting and designing before they started filming. I will say that an ideal schedule for the main title of this complexity, with live-action and CG, would be 2-3 months.
Take us through the process of the unicorn walking through the office.
Thematically speaking, we just loved the juxtaposition of a unicorn in an office – even a fancy, well-designed one. We also loved that it felt very normal. Almost like it was filmed by National Geographic. Very matter of fact. The other people in the space aren’t surprised by its presence. It’s normal.
What we are hoping is that the viewer will see the absurdity in the normalness of what we captured.
On set, everyone on the film crew at some point said in disbelief, “wow, I can’t believe what I am looking at.” So I knew that what we were doing was spot on.
The Unicorn horn is organically uncomfortable as it unravels.
Well, from episode one we know where this story is headed. And from the trailers and even the name of the show… we know there is a crash. So it just made sense to us to not only look at the unicorn in his natural habitat but also its unmasking. Sort of acknowledging, right, unicorns don’t actually exist.
There is some interesting tension between the wide shots of the office and the closer, more intimate shots of the horn.
Indian and Greek lore tells stories of nobles who drank from unicorn horns to protect themselves from diseases and poisons. What is the horn symbolizing here?
Well, unicorns aren’t real. So, it couldn’t have been a unicorn horn.
For me personally, I think it’s like religion or any other belief based on faith and not fact. They want it to be real because somehow it will benefit them if it is.
In that way, I see no difference here. Investors, employees, everyone wanted Adam to succeed, not for him, but for themselves. And so… yeah, unicorns must be real. Until the crash part anyway.
Did you have input on music?
They definitely cared about our thoughts and opinions and wanted the sound to work perfectly with the visuals and the show itself. But we know as much as anyone that music is a very challenging thing to finalize: There are many factors that go into choosing or creating the exact right thing.
So, when they (or really any show we work on) are working through the music, we like to just speak up if we think something doesn’t work. In this case, we were very happy with the direction, and extremely happy with where it landed.
Have you watched the series? Thoughts?
I have watched the series.
I think it is absolutely brilliant and a really lovely look at two very interesting people.
I of course had watched the doc and listened to the podcast before, and I was so happy to see that the show wasn’t just that. It was deeper. It was about the emotions and people behind it. And how that laid the groundwork for pulling off something quite extraordinary.
I really loved episode three, “Summer Camp.” Really understanding Rebekah and seeing her process, her past and present, was super compelling.
As a Geek I have to ask – are you working on Dr. Strange: The Multiverse of Madness?
She says nope now. Sounds like a Marvel-influenced answer to this writer! WeCrashed is currently streaming on AppleTV+.
#wecrashed #jaredleto #annehathaway #Appletv+ #sarofsky #HappyMan #Jungle