Jared Leto Told Adam Neumann Not To Watch WeCrashed
The new AppleTV+ series chronicles the implosion of Neumann’s company WeWork.
It’s scammer season. From Hulu’s The Dropout to Netflix’s Inventing Anna, TV has been inundated with scammer stories this spring. AppleTV+’s contribution is WeCrashed, a miniseries that dramatizes the downfall of WeWork and the love story between its co-founder Adam Neumann and his wife Rebekah. It stars award-winning actors Anne Hathaway and Jared Leto — but don’t expect the people they’re portraying to tune into the show.
Per Deadline, Adam Neumann hinted at the The New York Times DealBook Online Summit in 2021 that he probably won’t watch WeCrashed because Leto “told [him] not to.” He added that he talked to Leto “just one time,” and suggested that the interaction left him feeling less than enthused about the project. “When someone tells you, ‘I am going to act you, and you shouldn’t watch it…’” he trailed off.
Then Neumann harped a bit about Hollywood profiting off of what he sees as a fake narrative. “What happened in the world that we can take a person, look exactly like them, put on prosthetics, put their wife and kids in a show and then do a show on a … single-sided narrative that I am telling you is not actually true in a lot of things?” he said. “I think back in the day you were not allowed to do this. And I know public figures, you can do. But you use their face, use their name, and tell a false story?”
Rebekah, for her part, has not spoken publicly about WeCrashed, nor does it sound like she talked with Hathaway about the show. But Hathaway did realize they had friends in common during her research for the role — Rebekah is cousins with Gwyneth Paltrow — so she reached out to some of them. "I talked to them and their assessment was wildly different from the public account of her. The word that kept coming up was 'sweet,'" Hathaway said. "I thought, 'Well that's really interesting because on paper, these things that she's done are not so sweet' ... That juxtaposition was really interesting to me. I thought there is so much to work with in terms of playing a character like this."
While WeCrashed will likely take some liberties with Rebekah and Adam’s love story, the downfall of WeWork will hew very closely to real life, as the show is based on the 2020 Wondery podcast of the same name, for which several former employees were interviewed. The series will chronicle WeWork’s rise to fame in the last decade as the hip alternative to office cubicles for young entrepreneurs through its implosion in 2019. While initially valued at $47 billion after an investment from SoftBank, SEC filings ahead of its failed 2019 IPO revealed that Adam had severely inflated the value of the company; in reality it was running on fumes while he spent money excessively.
Shortly afterward, Neumann was forced to resign, and the value of WeWork was reduced to $7 billion while Neumann took a buyout of $1.7 billion. The Neumanns’ various other ventures, like WeLive and WeGrow, also collapsed. Today, Neumann still holds about 10% of WeWork stock; he continues to invest in real estate while dodging questions about what really happened at the company he co-founded. When the host of the DealBook Online Summit asked about allegations that he encouraged a toxic work culture — which included 20-hour days, 2 a.m. meetings, and in-office substance use — he simply said, “We had a fun culture.”