'WeCrashed': Why Gwyneth Paltrow, Rebekah Neumann's Cousin, Is an Unseen Character (Exclusive)
By Stacy Lambe
WeCrashed, the Apple TV+ limited series starring Jared Leto and Anne Hathaway, chronicles the unexpected rise and rapid fall of WeWork, a real estate company masquerading as a tech startup once valued at $47 billion. At the center of the story is the eccentric entrepreneur and co-founder Adam Neumann (Leto) and his wife, Rebekah (Hathaway), a yoga teacher and aspiring actress whose cousin happens to be Gwyneth Paltrow.
While the Oscar winner is not portrayed onscreen here, she’s very much an unseen character that looms heavily over Rebekah. Creators and showrunners Lee Eisenberg and Drew Crevello explain to ET why they didn’t want to include Paltrow among the ensemble of real-life figures that impacted the Neumanns’ world. “Generally speaking, we weren’t looking to make caricatures out of Adam and Rebekah, and that extended to not wanting to use Gwyneth Paltrow in a sort of unseemly way,” Crevello says. And at the end of the day, “she had no part in this.” At least when it comes to the rise and fall of WeWork.
The only real part that Paltrow had in Rebekah’s journey at WeWork was when the actress appeared in a brief promotional video with her cousin while she was promoting WeGrow, a new private school for young children meant to upend the education system at the time. (The interview, which is still up on WeWork’s Facebook page, includes a now-defunct link back to Goop.com, Paltrow’s wellness brand.)
And even that moment wasn’t worth bringing someone in to portray the actress. “There was no interest in casting someone for Gwyneth Paltrow and playing that up in any way. I think that would have taken you out of the show and also not the story that we wanted to tell,” Eisenberg says, explaining that the “only purpose that she serves in the story is how it reflects on Rebekah and how it informs the character.”
Instead, Paltrow is often referred to or referenced in the first three episodes in a similar way that Veep often saw Vice President Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) routinely asking, “Did the president call?” On WeCrashed, it’s Rebekah who is often asked by someone, “Is Gwyneth here?,” much to her chagrin. In that respect, the weight of her unseen presence is more effective and how that had an effect on her psychology is far more interesting.
“In the process of learning about Adam and Rebekah and trying to understand them as human beings and understanding their childhoods and backstories and experiences,” Crevello explains, “it’s very difficult to look at Rebekah and not sort of wonder what does that do to someone, especially someone who at one point wanted to be an actor to have a mega star and mega talent be sort of just five feet away. So, it really only mattered to us in a kind of character study way.”
The first three episodes of WeCrashed will premiere March 18 on Apple TV+ with new episodes debuting each Friday through April 22.