WeCrashed is an American drama streaming television miniseries. It premiered on Apple TV in March 2022, featuring stars like Jared Leto, Anne Hathaway, and Kyle Marvin. But one WeCrashed character that stole the show was Cameron Lautner.
Who is the real Cameron Lautner? Was he a real character? The show follows the lives of the real-life married couple Adam and Rebekah Neumann. They are at the heart of WeWork, a coworking space company whose valuation reached $47 billion in 2019. Then it crashed as a result of financial revelations.
The Apple TV miniseries is based on the podcast, WeCrashed: The Rise and Fall of WeWork by Wondery. Fans got to know Cameron Lautner in the final episode. The fictional character delivered one of the best motivational speeches of all time. Or the worst, depending on how you see it.
Who Is Cameron Lautner?
In the show, the fictional character Cameron Lautner is played by O-T Fagbenle. He portrays the financier that in the final episode gave the motivational speech that fans loved. In it, he told employees that despite what Leto’s Neumann had been telling them all this time, work was just about making money. By the end of the speech, the whole team is on board with his profit-focused vision.
Talking about his character, Fagbenle said, “It was a challenge. But Cam was such a fun part to play, and I feel like it’s easy to have mixed feelings when you hear him because you’re like, ‘You’re such a dick, but you’re kind of right'”.
The character is partly based on a real person. On the show, he is played by O-T Fagbenle, and he is a partner at Benchmark Capital, one of the principal investors in WeWork during the early days.
In real life, the San Francisco venture capital firm Benchmark was one of the early investors in WeWork. There came a time when some of its partners had to step in and confront Neumann about some of his actions. That character in real life was actually played by a couple of people.
On the WeWork show, Fagbenle’s character is brought in to try and instill discipline within the company for the upcoming IPO. He is also shown as skeptical of the heavy-spending business model, which he brings up with his colleague, Bruce.
In real life, Benchmark led the $17 million Series-A round of seed funding but eventually became unsatisfied with the way the company was run under Adam Neumann. One of the big problems was Neumann’s large-scale sale of stock despite the company’s IPO being eagerly awaited.
In 2017, five partners from Benchmark, including the iconic venture capitalist Bill Gurley, came to New York City to confront Neumann.
The show WeCrashed created the character of Cameron Lautner as an amalgamation of multiple Benchmark partners in order to depict the complex relationship that the firm had with the company. And of course, its CEO Adam Neumann.
The tense relationship between Lautner and Neumann on the Apple TV+ series is a slightly embellished version of reality.
The Speech That Made Him Fan Favorite
Actor O-T Fagbenle, who became popular for his role as Luke in The Handmaid’s Tale and portrayal of Barack Obama in The First Lady, talked about the experience.
He delivered a powerful speech about businesses being all about profit in the final episode of WeCrashed. He portrayed financier Cameron Lautner, a fictional character.
Some fans considered that to be the worst motivational speech. Others view it as the best motivational speech of all time. But the team on the show is on board with his profit-focused vision for the company.
Here is what he said in an interview about that speech.
He said, “I mean, to be honest when I first read the speech and it says in the script at the end of the speech, they’re cheering, and I’m like, how the hell? That’s a tall task you’ve asked me to do is to go, “Oh, by the way, you’re the kind of person who signs up to be part of an inspirational cult-like thing and now I’m just telling you you’re going to work for money and get out of it and at the end, you’re going to be cheering.”
But he applauded the direction. He admits it was a challenge, and speaks about how Cameron has made some people sympathize with the finance guys.
Is WeCrashed Based On A Real Story?
WeCrashed follows the true story of Adam Neumann, played by Jared Leto, and his wife Rebekah Neumann, played by Anne Hathaway.
It follows the story of WeWork’s Rise And Fall, and in the process, changes some things. The WeWork company was the brainchild of Israeli billionaire Adam Neumann, played by Jared Leto in the Apple TV+ show.
He sought to create a communal space for workers in a growing gig economy. The company started in 2008, and it was not the first shared workplace company. Yet, over time, it became the most well-known.
The eccentric and visionary leader attracted attention to the point the company had a value of $47 million. But things quickly fell apart and the company completely crashed.
Changes From The Original Material
WeCrashed is accurate on many things. For example, it details the major points of the WeWork story and portrays how Neumann was perceived by his employees and investors.
But it is also a mix of real and fictional characters and events. Although, the fictional elements tend to have a basis in reality. One example is the character Elishia Kennedy. While it is a fictional one, it was largely based on SoulCycle co-founder, Julie Rice.
One big change is how the show portrayed the co-founder Miguel McKelvey. He was portrayed as a clueless punchline, but in reality, many former employees saw him as a key architect of the company’s culture. Here are some other changes from reality.
– Adam’s theme song was Juicy, a famous song by Notorious B.I.G. It was the rapper’s motivational anthem about his rise to fame and success from humble beginnings. The show changed it to Roar by Katy Perry
– Adam and Miguel actually met at a work party. The show changes how Neumann first meets co-founder Miguel McKelvey, played by Kyle Marvin. They meet after a venture capitalist meeting
– Another meeting that was changed was the one of Adam and his wife Rebekah Neumann. In reality, they met through a friend. Adam met a friend of hers from Cornell at a party, and then that guy introduced Rebekah to Neumann through a blind date
– Elishia Kennedy and Cameron Lautner were not real people, but they are based on real people. While they are fictionalized, Elishia was based largely on Julia Rice, while Cameron was an amalgam of several people. And O-T Fagbenle became a standout for his portrayal of the fictionalized character