Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Eugene Levy, very jealously, explores the world for travel shows

Related posts


NEW YORK – There are celebrities with travel TV shows who just can’t wait to show you where they came from or push the limits of their bodies or go off-road to find the perfect recipe. Then there’s Eugene Levy.

The “Schitt’s Creek” star admits he’s not really a fan of the cold or the heat. He doesn’t really like eating weird things and, well, bugs freak him out. To be honest, he prefers to stay at home.

“Not only do I not like travel, but I have a very low sense of curiosity,” he says during an interview. “I don’t have an adventurous spirit. And I’m actually thinking, well, aren’t those things you need to run a travel show?”

Not necessarily, and so welcome to Apple TV+’s The Reluctant Traveler with Eugene Levy, the unlikely wedding of a quirky and caring host to some of the most beautiful places on Earth.

Over the course of the eight-episode series, Levy swims in a frozen lake in Finland, hikes through canyons in Utah and explores a rainforest in Costa Rica. He also visits Italy, Japan, the Maldives, Portugal and South Africa, even going on safari and enjoying a gin and tonic as he does.

The more uncomfortable it looks, the funnier the show becomes. “I’m the biggest indoor guy,” he jokes to his guide in a Costa Rican forest filled with thousands of species of animals, what he calls “all those little threats to life.” While ice fishing in Finland, he notes dryly, “Hearty and steady are two words that have never been used to describe me.”

“I’m hoping it appeals to seasoned travelers who can look at this and laugh,” he says later in the interview. “But also for people who, like me, don’t travel a lot, aren’t into travel, don’t have that sense of adventure, so to speak — who will see me as a kindred spirit.”

The Reluctant Traveler was originally a show created as a way to showcase great-looking hotels that turned into one that really shines when Levy leaves them to go into the culture he’s visiting and changing.

In Utah, he stays at an elegant estate overlooking the Colorado Plateau, where rooms cost more than $3,000 a night, but finds a true sense of spirituality by visiting the humble home of his Navajo guide.

“The most memorable thing for me, in general, is the people I’m running into,” says Levy. “Hopefully this will be one of those shows with a nice kind of personality.”

In Finland, Levy drives a snowmobile, goes ice-fishing and ice-swimming, eats deer, and tries to go sledding — “How do you say slow down on a dog?” he asks – and swimming in the ice. He finds that Finns deserve their reputation as some of the happiest people on Earth. “I’ve never met people who were happier, and I don’t know if being heavy vodka drinkers has anything to do with it,” he jokes.

Levy found the job trying to get out of it. Executive producer David Brindley recalls that he and Apple executive Alison Kirkham were on a call trying to woo Levy to host a travel show and hearing him explain that he was the wrong man for the job. They were in stitches.

“We all fear certain things and we all have things that scare us and we wish we could do something about them, but we never do. And Eugene has just surrendered to this process,” Brindley said. “And, as a result, maybe he doesn’t absolutely enjoy everything he puts in his mouth or every activity that goes on, but it’s had a positive impact and he’s moved away from another person a little bit.”

The 76-year-old actor with bushy eyebrows and round glasses joins a packed field of celebrity travel hosts that includes Zac Efron, José Andrés, Chris Hemsworth, Will Smith, Stanley Tucci, Macaulay Culkin and Ewan McGregor.

“There are many travel shows around the world and rightly so. They’re gorgeous, they’re escapist and they’re beautiful,” said Brindley, chief creative officer at production house Twofour. “But starting a new one, you want to find something that has a unique selling point, that has the ability to do something a little different that’s just going to grab people’s attention, and also that feels relatable.”

So in South Africa, viewers will get a kick out of seeing Levy nervously reacting to wild animal noises, seeing his first cute – “That’s not a nice thing!” – and playing golf among the hippos. He collects a fecal sample from a sedated elephant and bottle-feeds a baby rhinoceros. “It was a very, very cool experience,” he says.

To keep Levy fresh, he and his team would visit two countries at once—spending a week in each—and then take a few months off before reuniting for another set of visits.

Levy consulted on the list of possible locations for the first season and says he got more adventurous each time. “As the series went on, I was rolling with the punches,” he says. “We’ll see how viewers take it.”

Mark Kennedy is on

Source link

Next Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *




Welcome Back!

Login to your account below

Retrieve your password

Please enter your username or email address to reset your password.