New Work: The World According to Jeff Goldblum

Drum roll please…

At long last, I’m thrilled to announce my latest directing project, The World According to Jeff Goldblum for Disney+.  Filmed over the course of six months at the end of 2020 and beginning of 2021, this was a feat of research, coordination, safety, creativity, compassion and a healthy dose of silliness.  You know you’ve made good career choices when Day 1 of filming is Jeff Goldblum in a pile of puppies.

Jeff Goldblum is back — and he’s as curious as ever.  Through the prism of Jeff’s always inquisitive and highly entertaining mind, nothing is as it seems in this new series. Each episode is centered around something we all love — dogs, dance, magic and motorcycles — as Jeff pulls the thread on these deceptively familiar objects and unravels a wonderful world of astonishing connections, fascinating science and history, amazing people, and a whole lot of surprising big ideas and insights.

The challenge: how do you make a show during a pandemic as interesting and exciting as the first season which was filmed when there were no limitations?  Answer: you plan everything very carefully to be safe but you also have to leave room for spontaneity and magic. Creatively, this host-driven show was a director’s dream because every day we filmed something completely different.  I mean, we’ve got trapeze artists, magicians, robots, witches, a sea lion named Diego, and a BIG DANCE NUMBER this season!

In California and Georgia, I am forever grateful to:

  • The tireless producing and creative minds of Aisling Brown, Alana Moreno, and Susie Wilkinson who zigged and zagged their way through the stories.
  • DPs Sara Kinney and Calvin Callaway and camera operators Ollie Richards and Carmen Delaney who weren’t afraid to get weird with it.
  • Jack-of-all-trades-Angelino-by-way-of-England, Craig Young, for his incredible knowledge of Los Angeles locations as well as his immense generosity to make us feel at home.
  • Seppi Aghajani who wore (and made) more hats than any one else and whose budget-based artistic talents know no bounds.  She should definitely consider a career in art department.
  • Justin Koenen, the hardest working AC/second camera/DIT/BTS man in show biz.
  • James Goddard for his ears: both recording sound and listening to my inner fears.
  • The production trinity of Paul Van Wormer, Fred Hulls, Noah Mark who took great care of us and kept us rich with snacks, smoothies, laughs, and honey wagons all along the route.
  • The mind blowing stylings of Andrew Vottero and to David Cox and Abbie Martin for keeping Jeff looking so sharp.
  • Greg Harrison for keeping us all safe – your singular focus, night vision goggles, and pajamas are legendary!

In addition to the team on the ground, there was full team in London supporting our efforts.  And they did so while the UK was going through some of the most stringent lock down restrictions in the world.  Thank you to everyone at Nutopia, especially:

  • Showrunner John Hodgson and series producer Ben Jessop for never losing sight of the big picture.  
  • Production management of Paul Bean, Joanna Vale, Esme Sharpe, and Alice Koston who performed magic with the budget to allow for all the extra safety protocol and ever-changing creative.
  • Producers & researchers Charlotte Gittins, Maisie Williams, Flora Hamilton, Sam Wigfield, and Rachael Getzel (one day we’ll do a Viclas story!) who never let the nine hour time difference slow us down.

And Jeff Goldblum!  If you have the opportunity to work with Jeff Goldblum, you say yes immediately – no matter the project.  His curiosity and exuberance lifted us up every day and made the shoot days a delight. What more can I say?  He has probably ruined me for any other host-driven show.  Thank you, sir, for being up for everything.

RATING: I give the experience 10 Goldblums out of a possible 10 Goldblums

Flanking Jeff Goldblum, the ladies of TWAJG. Top: Abbie Martin, KOK, Aisling Browne, Sara Kinney. Bottom: Seppi Aghajani, Flora Hamilton, Carmen Delaney. Oakland, CA.  Photo by Justin Koenen

KOK with Bubbles and DP Calvin Calloway and Seppi Aghajani at Canine Companions in Santa Rosa, CA. Photo by Justin Koenen

The indomitable Aisling Browne with Tuna in Atlanta, GA.

Getting the perfect shot. Santa Rosa, CA

Working out the choreography for the BIG DANCE NUMBER. Los Angeles, CA. Photo by Seppi Aghajani

Sara Kinney filming Emilie and Jeff Goldblum gracefully performing the BIG DANCE NUMBER.

Directing the roller rink scene in Atlanta, GA.  Photo by James Goddard.

Jeff, Sara, and Seppi on roller skates in Atlanta, GA. Photo by James Goddard.

Masked up and socially distanced in Birmingham, AL.

Talking all things motorcycles. Photo by Seppi Aghajani

Prepping the night before a big scene at Pioneertown in the Yucca Valley desert, CA.

Awesome lensing of Sara Kinney and Carmen Delaney, Sequoia National Forest, CA.

I see you James Goddard! Sequoia National Forest, CA.

Tea and drones with Ollie Richards!

Alana Moreno produces a conga line on roller-skates in Atlanta, GA. Photo by James Goddard.

The show would be nothing without the generosity of spirit of contributors like Porsche Taylor. Long Beach, CA

And we clean up nice! Susie Wilkinson, Craig Young, and Aisling Browne.

 

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