In Apple TV+’s new sci-fi series Hello Future!, Billy Crudup plays Jack. Crudup claims that while he appears to be a con man, he is actually a devoted believer.
The series is set in a retro-future society in which a gang of traveling salesman go door-to-door in order to promote timeshares on the moon. The Emmy winner leads the group as a brilliant salesman with charisma and an unwavering belief that a brighter future is just around the corner – and it’s up to them to give it to the public. But the further they progress in this endeavor, the more Jack becomes engrossed in the same dream that he and his crew are attempting to sell.
1. THEY ARE SELLING A DREAM AND MAY BE RUNNING A CON.
Hank Azaria as the seasoned-yet-flawed salesman Eddie; Haneefah Wood as no-nonsense office manager Shirley; Dewshane Williams as the by-the-book salesman Herb; Jacki Weaver as Jack’s mother Barbara; and Alison Pill as Myrtle, a desperate housewife with a dark secret, co-star as Joey, the bright-eyed newcomer to the team.
The cast and co-creators of the show, Amit Bhalla and Lucas Jansen, spoke with Rotten Tomatoes about the show’s aesthetic and content, dreams and delusions, and the deeply human drama at the heart of this strange sci-fi thriller.
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Selling lunar timeshares appears to be a lucrative line of work, especially in this day and age when going to the moon is a possibility. But we have the sensation that something more sinister is at work. After all, selling the vision of hope and the idea of a better tomorrow can only go so far if it is not backed up by substance.
“Salesman skills are a fantastic thing to have if you’re running a con,” Azaria told Rotten Tomatoes. “They suit Eddie because I believe he is constantly mucking his way through life. What makes this job any different? ”
Each of the salespeople on Jack’s team comes to the job with the illusion that they, too, can break free from the monotony of their daily life.
Whether it’s office manager Shirley, who has “greater purpose and more desire” in this line of work because of Jack, or Herb, who “would follow Jack anywhere,” according to Williams, their magnetic leader’s belief in their objective keeps everyone in line.
“He is a firm believer,” Crudup stated of his character. “He is someone who is dedicated to the idea of a brighter future through commodification. That’s it. He is adamant that he can brighten your life with something he may or may not offer. That moment of hope you experienced was priceless.”
2.1950s ADVERTISING, NORMAN ROCKWELL, AND FRANK CAPRA WERE ALL INSPIRATION.
The production design, costume, world-building, and obsessive attention to detail come together in one of the more distinctive shows to reach television in recent years. Bhalla and Jansen mentioned that they dived deep into a range of sources to bring Hey Future! to life.
“Essentially, advertising from the World’s Fair in the 1930s to the 1960s, when a corporate American futurism was formed as an art form,” Bhalla explained. “This is a show with a style based on advertising and a sort of visual Utopia. Now, what happens when you actually live in it, but the robots are rusty, things don’t work, and the carpet is stained? ”
This is also a series that holds up a mirror to the American dream as a concept, which means there’s a little Norman Rockwell thrown in for good measure. Bhalla described it as “the kind of delusional imagery – or optimistic imagery – that made the American spirit kind of shape itself.”
Wrapping a ribbon around the entire item is a distinctive storytelling technique from the early days of cinema.
“Billy Wilder, Preston Sturges, and Frank Capra; we’re deep in those tones,” Bhalla continued. “The contrast of high jinks and heartbreak, soap and noir, and all of these things that they were able to integrate into one movie. We understood that by doing so, it would feel older, and that we would be able to construct a type of meta story of nostalgia through tone.”
3.THE SERIES’ MAIN THEME IS UNREALISTIC DREAMS VS. HEARTBREAKING DELUSION.
“This is a narrative about dreamers,” Jansen explained.
Whether they’re selling a dream to others or riding Jack’s coattails to seek their own optimistic vision of a better future, the series is wrapped in a positive fantasy that things will get better if your faith and belief are strong enough. But what happens when that isn’t enough?
“The show is situated in a fantasy or hallucination that we all kind of share as Americans,” Jansen remarked. “It’s set in a delusory world, but we’re performing it as if it were true.
So there’s a robot in the rear shaking your martini, but he’s also rusty and occasionally spills a little, and you’re playing a heartbreaking scene in the foreground. The way it all comes together tells something about how we build our lives as Americans, and how our goals both excite and devastate us.”
4.THE SHOW’S ROBOTS AND GADGETS ARE ALL WORKING.
Hello Future! is filled with strange robots and technologies. ‘s dream-like existence feels strangely grounded. “We’d simply make up names for things and see what they came up with on set,” Jansen says.
That translates to a future full of robot bartenders, sentient briefcases, and Ford Fairlane-style hover automobiles. And they are only a few examples.
To make things as tactile as possible, Azaria observed that this retro-future tech was fully handcrafted: “Those robots weren’t CGI. There were puppeteers with us, these people in green unitards who can be green-screened out afterwards. We’re in charge of them. It was truly ridiculous.”
5.AT THE HEART OF THE SHOW IS A COMPLICATED FATHER-SON RELATIONSHIP.
All of these fantastic sci-fi elements combine to create a world that is both familiar and just out of reach. Yet, nostalgia and optimism can only take you so far; human drama is at the heart of the story.
Joey’s addition to the team not only provides the group with new young energy, but also, as Crudup noted, “represents a new opportunity, a rebirth, a chance to reinvent himself in a way that he felt he could never recover from.”
To put it another way, Jack is the deadbeat dad Joey never knew he had, and Joey is unaware of it.
“He’s grown up without that father role,” Podany remarked. “He’s started believing that the dreams of him getting out of town are imaginary, just in time for Jack to walk along and tell him that enough is never enough.
So all of those dreams and repressed passions are real and valid. Not only are they valid in you, but they are also valid in others, and you can transform people’s lives with just a dream. What a perilous little message.”
Joey’s yearning for a father figure and Jack’s desire to make peace with his past mistakes, no matter how selfish his acts become, collide in a rich drama that informs the whole first season of the show.
“To have the opportunity to parent, metaphorically, in a way, as a mentor, this young man is a chance for him to remake himself,” Crudup concluded. “It happens as a parent anyway, right? Unless, like Jack, you go on the road for a bit.
He missed what we all take for granted in the day-to-day grind of parenting. Therefore, for him, this appears to be an opportunity to regain an experience that he may have lost.”