Jeff Goldblum has more blockbusters to his name than most actors dream of, in a career spanning nearly 50 years of television and movie projects. But if you think he’s content to sit back and phone it in at this point, you haven’t seen The World According to Jeff Goldblum.
The documentary series for Disney+ streaming service has the Jurassic Park and Independence Day actor, musician, and all-around lover of life investigating a wide range of topics — from coffee and sneakers to RVs and pools — with the sort of curiosity and verve that takes even the most mundane topics to unexpected, fascinating places. You can see it in the series itself, and hear it in his voice when he discusses The World According To Jeff Goldblum, which kicks off its second season on November 12.
After getting an early look at the first five episodes of season 2 of The World According to Jeff Goldblum, Digital Trends spoke to Goldblum about what audiences can expect from the next batch of episodes, as well as how he ended up on this journey of discovery to begin with, and how happy he is to share more of that journey with his family.
Digital Trends: How did this series happen? A World According To… show like this wouldn’t work with every actor or artist out there, but you bring such a fun, unique angle to it. Was it pitched to you? Was it something you had wanted to do prior?
Jeff Goldblum: You’re so nice! Here is what happened: A few years ago, I was asked to do a little arc where I guest-hosted on National Geographic’s Explorer show. I’ve always enjoyed everything about National Geographic, and they were so smart and interesting and sweet. I had a great time. I got to interview my friend Sam Rockwell, and also Norm Eisen, the model for my character in The Grand Budapest Hotel, the Wes Anderson movie I did. … So I did some wraparound things like that, some teleprompter things, and had a good time. I made it my own a little bit, and afterwards they said, “That was fun! Maybe we could do something else with you — something with you in every episode?” I said, “OK!”
[So] we started to talk about what it would be, and I said, “Well, maybe I could mess with the conventional format and get out there and talk to people, and not pretend to know anything, but rather, let my own curiosity and unconventional sensibility lead the way.” I knew I could trust the editing to make me sound coherent, and I could just gab away to the camera and to people, and take left turns and tangents here and there. And that’s what we wound up doing. I enjoyed it to no end. I always liked being on talk shows, and I play this jazz gig where I do a kind of extemporaneous hosting turn and stuff like that, and I always enjoy it. So that’s how it happened!
You’re a household name in my family because of this show, even with kids too young for Jurassic Park or many of your films. They see you in commercials and yell, “It’s Jeff Goldblum!” Have you found that The World According To … has created some new paths to younger audiences?
Oh my … That’s so sweet. How old are your kids?
Four and eight, but the 8-year-old gets scared pretty easily, so we’re holding off a little bit on the killer dinosaurs …
I know, I know! It’s the same thing in our house! We’ve got a 6-year-old and a 4-year-old, and it’s tough to show them some of the dinosaur movies. They get scared at one thing or another, but they do love this show. And yeah, I do run into kids who anecdotally seem to be happy about a bunch of different things I’ve been doing, including this show. Of course, they always seem to be excited about the dinosaurs, too. Maybe by the time the next [Jurassic World] movie comes out, your kids and our kids will be ready to be scared a little bit.
How much input do you have on the subjects of each episode? It doesn’t feel like they’re developed in a vacuum, because you bring so much enthusiasm and curiosity to each of the topics.
Thank you! Well, they’re wonderful and come up with a list of possible subjects, and then we compare notes and I start riffing to them as far as my interests. … So yeah, I’m delightfully involved and engaged with that part of it.
Do you have a favorite episode so far — something from season 1 or something we can look forward to in season 2?
Well, I love all the episodes in season one, but I’m particularly excited about season two. We tried to enhance this season in one way or another, and there are 10 episodes. The second five [episodes] are coming out in January and are secret at this point, but on November 12th, the first five episodes are coming out. They’re about dogs, fireworks, magic, monsters, and dance. And I’m just crazy about every one of those episodes.
I’ve got big feelings about the episode that deals with our relationship with dogs. Our family dog is in the episode a little bit, Woody. And with the episode on dance, I go into some of what dance has meant to me and how I’ve done some dancing here and there. And fireworks? I love that one because it kind of telescoped out into a kind of cosmic investigation and appreciation. I wound up talking to this astronaut who had a unique perspective. And then monsters! Ooh! I’ve battled some monsters, and as a kid, I was very interested in monsters. And there’s a psychology to it — the shadow side, so to speak, of human nature — and I’m very interested in that. And then, finally, magic! Woo! I got to experience some magic and sleight of hand in Nashville.
I loved what they did with the episodes and how they edited them. I find myself watching them myself with amusement, and I sometimes get choked up, too. I find them moving and touching, at times.
My family has really enjoyed seeing more of your family in the show in season 2. It’s not often you can bring your family into a project you’re working on, I assume. How has that experience been for you, making this show with your family so involved?
It was great. I’m not trying to make them do anything they otherwise don’t want to do, but I’m having such a great time, and they’re like, “Dada, what are you doing now?” I say, “Here’s where I’m going, and you might be interested to see this …” So when I can include them, it’s really fun. With the great directors and the production people on this show, and the sensitive way they just let [the children] play and never demanded anything of them except for them to have a good time, it was delightful. Seeing them in the show — seeing my wife and my kids and my dog — it cracks me up, and it also chokes me up sometimes.
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