Tag Archives: Drama

Behind the Scenes of WeCrashed

We walked through the bowels of a large warehouse shrouded in darkness. I rounded a corner and shoved open a heavy door with no idea what was on the other side.

Suddenly, we were in the world headquarters of WeWork.

The famous startup led by Adam Neumann seemed to take over the world before it crashed just as quickly. And now, it had become a TV miniseries called WeCrashed.

At Goldman Sachs headquarters
Close-up

I had the joy of being a background actor (also known as an extra) on episode 7 of this fascinating show! I played a Goldman Sachs investment banker, hard at work on winning WeWork’s business for its IPO.

Light poured in from above on the set of WeWork’s headquarters, which nailed the company’s funky aesthetic. Concrete columns framed long sofas in bright colors.

I even got to see the famous WeWork gong! Unfortunately, I was not allowed to ring it.

We filmed a scene where a senior Goldman banker tried to impress Neumann by quoting Bob Marley. I had to look like the serious banker, but it was all I could do not to burst out laughing.

Then, Jared Leto made his entrance.

I can’t imagine what it must be like to be him; everyone staring at you, knowing who you are, without you knowing anything about them. I gushed to my fellow extras about what a great actor Leto is, and he nodded to us politely as he passed.

What came next is the best acting I’ve ever seen in person.

Leto was rejecting a proposal from a venerable Wall Street bank, and went through his scene again and again. He delivered the same lines with every possible combination of intonation and inflection, one right after the other, until he determined which was right.

Far away, I quietly remarked to one of the other extras that Leto’s accent sounded a bit heavy. Just minutes later, I noticed he had corrected it.

In between takes, he went into a small room with an assistant to prepare for his next scene. I felt a little sorry for him…we could laugh, joke, and make new friends when we weren’t busy, but he could not.

The crew’s attention to detail amazed me.

At one point, they gave us iPads as props. On the screen was a copy of WeWork’s actual S-1.

In other scenes, we had to use our imagination.

At the Goldman offices watching Neumann announce the IPO, we were actually looking at a green screen. The TV broadcast was added later in post-production.

Filming WeCrashed was a wonderful time! I got to be a small part of a story that fascinates me and see one of my favorite actors at his best!

If you haven’t seen the show, I encourage you to check it out! Leto plays the charismatic, out of control Neumann with uncanny accuracy.

And if I may say so, my big bald head adds a little something too! 🙂

More on entertainment:

What It’s Like to Be on Law & Order: SVU

Filming a TV Show in NYC in a Pandemic

At the Sopranos Convention!

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Welcome to Sal “Big Pussy” Bonpensiero’s House from The Sopranos

Birds call in a cemetery in the early hours. Two men appear on a balcony. One hands the other a newspaper. Their faces are grave.

This is the backdrop for a classic scene of The Sopranos. Salvatore “Big Pussy” Bonpensiero brings FBI Special Agent Skip Lipari onto his balcony, where Lipari questions him about a high profile murder. Both suddenly clam up when Pussy’s wife comes out with the trash.

The lonely calling of the birds and Pussy looking out over a graveyard make a haunting image. The headstones, so close to Bonpensiero, subtly foreshadow his murder later in the season, when Tony Soprano finds out he’s an informant.

Big Pussy’s house is in Jersey City, NJ and I had the opportunity to visit yesterday. While we don’t see it from the outside in the series, when Tony visits in season 1 you can clearly see the same metal door and brick pillar as above.

The street is a dead end and Pussy’s house borders the vast Holy Name Cemetery. The house is upscale…evidently Pussy’s heroin business paid well! The cemetery itself seems like something out of The Sopranos, with the profusion of Italian names on the markers.

On the way home, I stopped by another Sopranos filming location, this one from season 6. Tony and Paulie are on the run as the FBI investigates a decades-old murder. On Kennedy Boulevard near Pussy’s house, Silvio Dante breaks the bad news to Tony that the FBI has found the body.

The liquor store has had a facelift since then, but the streetscape is still quite recognizable.

It was quite the thrill to see where these great scenes really happened!

Dig into these posts for more on The Sopranos:

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Christopher Moltisanti Hit Rock Bottom at This Diner

“Wanna follow me to that dive on Sip and JFK?”

Julianna Skiff, The Sopranos

So begins the romance between mobster Christopher Moltisanti and Julianna Skiff in season 6 of The Sopranos. The troubled pair meet at an AA meeting. Soon they’re having an extramarital affair that spirals into a return to heroin addiction.

Their romance begins and ends at the VIP Diner in Jersey City, NJ. Being a big fan of this episode and the show in general, I took a little trip there yesterday. The diner is exactly as it appeared on the show in 2007, and indeed seems not to have changed at all since at least the 1970’s.

The restaurant was nearly empty when I entered in the late afternoon. I sat at a weathered booth near the window and enjoyed a coffee and newspaper. Cocooned in a nearby booth, Christopher tells Julianna about his entry to the mafia and they reflect on their return to heroin use at the end of episode 12.

As they leave the restaurant and head for an AA meeting, Julianna already senses that their relationship is over. It was interesting to walk down those same steps as I headed home.

Enjoying a coffee in the same spot where these great scenes happened was a lot of fun! If you’re in the area, I’d recommend popping in.

Bonus location: the hair salon across the street was used for a scene in season 1, episode 9, where Bobbi Sanfilippo discusses Uncle Junior’s “talents” with her pedicurist. Through the window, you can see the VIP Diner across the street.

It appeared to have been heavily remodeled and didn’t look much like the beauty parlor in the episode, but it was still interesting to see it! I actually looked at an apartment in this building a couple of years ago without realizing it was a Sopranos shooting location!

Dig into these posts for more on The Sopranos and entertainment:

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