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Few would compare the accents between the buffoonish Paolo Gucci in “House of Gucci” and enthusiastic WeWork founder Adam Neumann, except maybe the Oscar-winning actor filling both roles onscreen.
In discussing his portrayal of Israeli billionaire Neumann in the upcoming Apple TV+ limited series “WeCrashed” at a TCA panel, Jared Leto revealed how his noteworthy (and awards-contending) turn in “House of Gucci” rolled right into his performance as Neumann, drawing similarities between the two unique accents.
“I literally went from Italy to New York, just coming from ‘House of Gucci’ where I was playing Italian, and little did I know they actually have a lot of similarities, the two accents,” Leto said. “With Adam’s accent I wasn’t really doing an Israeli accent, I was doing Adam’s accent. An accent is just a series of mistakes. You learn how to say a word and maybe you don’t say it ‘correctly,’ whatever that means, but it’s just a series of habits. It’s the way your mouth makes shapes. Everyone learns theirs differently.”
When asked specifically how he avoided turning his portrayal of Neumann into a caricature given the controversial WeWork founder’s singular speaking style, Leto said he surrounded himself with other Israelis during production. “I think probably the insurance against things slipping into caricature is to dive into as much truth as possible, right?” Leto said. “And in this case I had a great team of Israelis surrounding me that I was working with. We kind of had our own bubble during this time when we all were in a bubble, so that voice and that accent was around me all the time.”
Leto also had something he didn’t have on “House of Gucci”: a vast amount of recordings and footage of Neumann. “The good thing about Adam is there was a lot of material out there, so he had hours and hours and hours of footage,” Leto said. “[It was] kind of the opposite with Paolo Gucci, I had about a minute and a half of his voice in an interview. So in this case it was a blessing, it was beautiful just to be buried in the interviews.”
Leto stars in the series alongside Anne Hathaway, who plays Neumann’s wife Rebekah. Together they created one of the world’s most valuable start-ups, but as quickly as WeWork rose, it began to fall.
“WeCrashed” premieres on Apple TV+ on March 18.