Fictionalized retellings of true stories seem to be modus operandi in Hollywood right now. Turn on your television and teasers for everything from NBC’s “The Thing About Pam” to Hulu’s “The Dropout” to HBO Max’s upcoming “The Staircase” inevitably flood your screen. And then there’s “WeCrashed” from Apple TV+, which hit the streamer in mid-March and, throughout the course of eight episodes, dramatizes the sordid tale behind the sensational rise and spectacular fall of WeWork, the shared office space startup founded by eccentric CEO Adam Neumann (Jared Leto) that was at one point valued at an incredible $47 billion!
While the beginning of each episode informs us that “WeCrashed” is “based on actual events,” the scripts do take quite a few liberties with certain storylines, at least according to the Wondery podcast that inspired the show. Neumann wasn’t physically present, for example, at the meeting in which the WeWork board ousted him as CEO, as was depicted in the series’ opening, but he instead attended virtually via video conferencing from his Gramercy Park home. Neither did he first encounter his wife, Rebekah (Anne Hathaway, in a role that seems tailor-made for her), at a rooftop soirée, as depicted in episode one. Their meet-cute was actually a blind date set up by a mutual friend. That same friend, Andrew Finkelstein, also came up with the WeWork name, not Adam as is purported onscreen. And Elishia Kennedy (America Ferrera) is not a real person but, per TheCinemaholic, is a fictional character partially modeled after SoulCycle co-founder Julie Rice, who worked briefly as WeWork’s Chief Brand Officer before being unceremoniously fired at the behest of Rebekah.
One storyline that was ripped from real life? The “‘Avatar’ moment,” as The Wrap dubbed it, in which Rebekah attends a costume party fundraiser for her children’s school dressed as a Na’vi. Though she is quite expertly outfitted in the segment, covered head to toe in blue paint and bedecked with a colorful array of beads and feathers, the stunning scenery behind her pulls some serious focus. Purported to take place in a spot named “The Ansley,” the fundraiser segment was actually lensed in the glorious marble-clad lobby of 43 Fifth Ave., a magnificent Beaux Arts-style cooperative in Greenwich Village that has long been popular with location scouts.