Gael Garcia Bernal’s art is about to imitate art life…
The 42-year-old Mexican actor and producer is joining a slew of stars who’ll portray famous figures across history in a new podcast series from Playboy and Audio Up.
The two companies are launching Playboy Interview, an audio series that features teleplay-style re-enactments of the most iconic Playboy interview conversations.
In addition to Garcia Bernal, other stars set to take part in the program are Rosanna Arquette, Taye Diggs, Maya Hawke, Shea Whigham, Michael Shannon, Kevin Corrigan and Gina Gershon.
The series, which is set to debut in September, will see Arquette voice feminist pioneer Betty Friedan, Diggs will portray Muhammad Ali, Garcia Bernal plays Salvador Dali, Shannon is Tennessee Williams, Shea Whigham is John Wayne, Maya Hawke is Helen Gurley Brown, Kevin Corrigan is Frank Sinatra and Gina Gershon is Oriana Fallaci.
The first two episodes will feature “conversations” with Friedan and Ali.
The series is based on the classic Playboy Interview, which started in 1962 with Alex Haley’s conversation with Miles Davis and has run for more than 500 interviews including the likes of Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Fidel Castro, Bob Dylan, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Steve Jobs, Whoopi Goldberg and Maya Angelou.
“Working on the Playboy Interview was an incredible experience,” said Maya Hawke, who also portrays Ayn Rand in the second season, which is likely to launch in early 2022. “I got the rare opportunity to portray two of history’s most influential, controversial, and complicated women. I was allowed to inhabit the characters rather than being asked to impersonate them, which left me thinking about their respective perspectives for weeks after. And I felt inspired. Even if I don’t agree with them about everything, or anything – their strength, persistence, and insistence on being exactly who they are has reminded me to be exactly who I am.”
“Playboy is culturally iconic for many reasons, but their in-depth interviews and journalistic integrity is a large part of what has made the publication so cool,” said Gina Gershon. “I was so happy to work on a project that celebrates Playboy’s historic interviews with so many incredible individuals. I’ve always been fascinated by Oriana Fallaci, and was so excited to be able to take part in bringing her interviews to life. It was so much fun to explore this remarkable woman and share her point of view with the world.”
“We couldn’t be more excited to unveil the first season of the Playboy Interview podcast,” added Rachel Webber, Chief Brand Officer at PLBY Group and producer of the series. “Audio is the perfect format for these intimate and revealing conversations. Each brilliant performance by this incredible cast gives you chills, making you feel like you’re right there in the room as history unfolds.”
“This podcast is the culmination of a personal journey for me having spent seven years as Playboy’s editorial director,” added Audio Up’s Chief Creative Officer Jimmy Jellinek, who adapted, produced and directed all 10 episodes of season one. “Thanks to the explosion of audio as a medium, today we’re able to reintroduce these incredible conversations to a new generation. I have long thought the Playboy Interview would lend itself perfectly to formats off the page. In my wildest dreams I didn’t anticipate that something this magical would be the result.”
“We’ve paired the greatest conversations of the 20th century with the greatest actors of the 21st. Audio Up is in the business of pushing the boundaries of audio entertainment and this project exemplifies that mission in every way,” said Audio Up founder and Chief Executive Officer Jared Gutstadt.