Billions co-creators Brian Koppelman and David Levien reveal how they got Quentin Tarantino to narrate their upcoming series Super Pumped.
Brian Koppelman and David Levien, the co-creators of Billions, explained how they got Quentin Tarantino to be the narrator for their new series Super Pumped. Super Pumped is based on the Mike Isaac nonfiction book of the same name, which was published in 2019. The drama will be an anthology series, with the first season focusing on the story of Travis Kalanick, the CEO of Uber. Super Pumped season 2, which has already been greenlit, is based on Isaac’s upcoming follow-up book, which will focus on the goings-on at Facebook. Super Pumped will premiere on Showtime on February 27, 2022.
Season 1, which is officially subtitled Super Pumped: The Battle For Uber, will star Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Travis Kalanick. The beloved actor will star alongside a robust cast playing a variety of contemporary industry figures that includes Kyle Chandler as Bill Gurley, Kerry Bishé as Austin Geidt, Babak Tafti as Emil Michael, Mousa Hussein Kraish as Fawzi Kamel, Hank Azaria as Tim Cook, Elisabeth Shue as Bonnie Kalanick, and Uma Thurman as Arianna Huffington. The ensemble is full of recognizable names, but one of the most shocking inclusions is the series’ narrator: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood director Quentin Tarantino.
The Wrap spoke with Brian Koppelman and David Levien about how that Tarantino narration came to be. Koppelman revealed that they asked him to narrate the show in the same email where he invited him to be a guest on his podcast The Moment. When Tarantino agreed, Koppelman said “I wrote back, ‘You know you said yes to both things?’ and he said, perfect Tarantino-ish, ‘Yeah I know what I said yes to.’” They asked because they had known he was a fan of Billions, but they were still shocked that he said yes. Their brilliant response when they’re asked why they chose Tarantino as their narrator is “because he said yes.” Read their full quote below:
Koppelman: I wrote back, “You know you said yes to both things?” and he said, perfect Tarantino-ish, “Yeah I know what I said yes to.” What David and I knew was in the last two years – if you listen to the podcast you know what a big deal Quentin’s work is to us – he wrote to us that he had become a really big Billions watcher and fan. He watches it very closely and is very engaged with every reference and every character’s journey. So that’s why we thought maybe it was possible he would do it. We knew he liked our work to some extent, or was engaging it.
Levien: He was amazing because he showed up like a performer and was totally open to our input and wanted us to be happy with it. He didn’t bring his directorial authority to it, he was like, “Let me just read it out loud, you’ll hear what I do, and then you’ll tell me,” basically. And of course he was basically right on it when he read it, and we would just give tiny thoughts about things. He was so enthusiastic and game, honestly it was surreal and one of the most fun things we’ve ever done in our career.
Koppelman: The only time Quentin got directorial at all, we did two sessions and the second session he was over in Israel where he lives part of the time so it was over Zoom, and the only directorial thing was he was like, “I don’t really love how this camera is with the Zoom,” and we were like, “You know what, you set that up!”
When people ask why Quentin Tarantino, the only answer I can come up with is, “Because he said yes.”
Koppelman and Levien’s other project Billions is still on the air and was just renewed for season 7. That series, which stars Paul Giamatti, Maggie Siff, David Costabile, Condola Rashad, and Corey Stoll (who took over for Damian Lewis in season 6), follows the ins and outs of various financial institutions. Considering how close the show is to the tone and subject of Super Pumped, it makes sense why Tarantino would be eager to get in on the ground floor.
Super Pumped has gotten its second season before it even premiered, though it has not been revealed if any cast members, including Tarantino, will be returning. Tarantino’s return may also be dependent on the critical success of the series. However, considering what a fan he is of the creators, it seems likely that he will take the job once more if he’s not too busy when they begin production.
Source: The Wrap
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