It’s the season of the swindler.
And in a similar vein to the catastrophic and public fall from grace each of the above business-moguls endured, Apple TV’s new drama WeCrashed, starring Anne Hathaway and Jared Leto is the next to capture our attention.
After failing to break into the womenswear industry, Israeli businessman Adam Neumann founded tech company, WeWork, that glorified flexible and collaborative workspaces in New York and subleasing sections to startups and freelancers on a temporary basis.
Not only did WeWork try to advertise an atmosphere of socialisation and collaboration, but the company included out-of-the-box perks that were unavailable at most workplaces—like free beer. In 2015, WeWork’s global takeover saw it earn US $10 billion that later climbed to $47 billion.
But as we know, things took a turn.
When Neumann’s supposed unprofessional and irresponsible tendencies mixed with the company’s controversial business practices got out of hand, WeWork’s main investor—Japanese giant SoftBank—pulled the plug.
But who exactly are the real life figures we’re talking about? Below, the cast of WeCrashed in costume and how they compare to the real people behind the controversy.
Jared Leto as Adam Neumann
As mentioned, Jared Leto stars as the central figure around the WeWork scandal, Adam Neumann. A self-proclaimed “serial entrepreneur”, Adam grew up in an Israeli commune known as a “kibbutz (קיבוץ)”. So, when creating WeWork, he wanted to emulate the same sense of community from his earlier life in the form of a collaborative workplace.
Taking on the role, Leto sported Adam’s soft-spoken Israeli accent and shoulder-length brown hair. In fact, some believe that his work as Neumann was a much more convincing transformation than his work as Paolo Gucci in House of Gucci, a role which saw him receive backlash for his comedic portrayal.
Anne Hathaway as Rebekah Neumann
Anne Hathaway stars as Adam’s wife and muse, Rebekah Neumann, who began as a yoga teacher and part-time actress in New York City before meeting her husband.
Not only is she known for her relation to Gwyneth Paltrow—the pair are cousins—Rebekah served an important role in growing the WeWork empire. In fact, she founded the short-lived company WeGrow, which had a specific focus on education and childhood development. She was also known for firing employees for having ‘negative energy’.
Of course, Hathaway is hardly an unknown figure in Hollywood. With iconic parts in The Princess Diaries, Oceans 8 and The Devil Wears Prada, Hathaway also earned an Academy Award for her role as Fantine in Les Misérables. In WeCrashed, she’s not only encapsulated the WeWork founder’s wife—her deep voice and New Age beliefs included—but her fashion choices on the press tour have ushered in her return to Andy Sachs.
Kyle Marvin as Miguel McKelvey
Kyle Marvin stars as Miguel McKelvey, who was a co-founder of WeWork alongside Adam. The pair collaborated because of Miguel’s connections in the architectural and real estate industries, which we know was vital for allowing WeWork to grow as a business. In WeCrashed, Miguel is looked at as the anchor that keeps Adam’s radical ideas realistic, which left the pair with a tense relationship.
As for Marvin, he is actually a filmmaker known for producing and starring in The Climb, which won the Cannes Film Festival’s Un Certain Regard award.
America Ferrera as Elishia Kennedy (AKA Julie Rice)
America Ferrera stars as Elishia Kennedy, a fictional character in the series who was made to represent SoulCycle’s founder Julie Rice. Joining Adam and his team, Julie later became WeWork’s chief brand office in November 2017. Once WeWork’s value skyrocketed, Julie utilised her knowledge and skill set to take WeWork global, however, she left the company two years after being recruited.
As we know, America is well-known for her roles in Ugly Betty and The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants, as well as for voicing the character of Astrid in How To Train Your Dragon.
O-T Fagbenle as the fictional Cameron Lautner
O-T Fagbenle stars as Cameron Lautner, a fictional combination of the partners from venture capital firm Benchmark, that became WeWork’s first investors.
Fagbenle is famous for his work in The Handmaid’s Tale and as the lead in the Hulu show Maxxx. But that’s not all, Fagbenle has also starred in Black Widow as Rick Mason, a former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who helps Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson).
Kim Eui-Sung as Masayoshi Son
Lastly, Kim Eui-Sung stars as Masayoshi “Masa” Son, a Japanese businessman and founder and CEO of Softbank, one of WeWork’s investors. Masa’s welath came from investing in large companies, such as Uber and ByteDance, an internet company in China. As for WeWork, Masa used Softbank’s US $100 billion ‘Vision Fund’ to invest US $18.5 billion into the collaborative workplace company, but in the end, Masa became the one to call it quits on WeWork.
Eui-sung is a South Korean actor most known for popular Korean film Train to Busan and the Korean series Taxi Driver.