Paul T. Goldman launched earlier this month on Peacock and has struck a chord with viewers.
The series picks up when Paul T. Goldman’s world is turned upside down after he finds out that his wife has been living a secret double life.
As a result, he embarks on a mission to find out the truth, which leads him to many different places and people.
Jason Woliner, who directed and helped bring the project to life, recently chatted with TV Fanatic about the filming process.
When I asked Jason earlier this month whether he was excited to have filming completed after working on the project for more than a decade, he revealed he was still working on the series.
“I wish I could say it was completed,” Jason said with a laugh, adding that he was still editing the season finale.
He noted it was odd to be editing the final episode while the series was already out there in the world.
“We’re hearing a lot of response, and we’re almost done, but talk to me in a week,” Woliner said.
The director added that he’d had the project churning in the back of his head for a long time, and he’s spent a long time trying to figure out what worked and didn’t work for the show.
“It’s a truly experimental show,” he stressed.
“We didn’t write it. We didn’t go in with scripts,” he elaborated, adding that he and his team told Peacock they would film documentary footage to bring the series together.
Woliner showed cards behind him on a wall during our Zoom call.
“This is about a third of the cards of just figuring out how these episodes work,” he said.
Woliner went on to say that it had been an exhausting process, and he was worried about how the series would be received.
“It is exhausting and also kind of, you know, an anxiety that it could just be terrible or not work at all, or not make sense, or have the wrong tone,” he said.
“And it’s just a billion different choices that lead to the finished product. It’s almost done,” he added, saying that it would be a relief not to think about how it works anymore.
I was interested in hearing what the pitching project was like for such an ambitious project.
Jason said that he shot a pilot in 2017 for Hulu, and it helped to show Peacock how the show would work in terms of “the reenacted scenes starring Paul and established actors, the interviews, the documentary portions, how it would all tie together.”
“That was much simpler than when I was pitching that pilot. All I had was an interview of Paul in some documentary footage.”
Jason said describing the show was difficult, which is probably the reason it took so long to get picked up.
While the series has a heightened tone, Jason says that the story he told best reflects his experience working with Paul.
“I was trying to convey what it was like meeting Paul, learning about his story, looking into it, and getting to know him.”
“There were all these interesting turns in terms of what I would learn about the truth or reality or more unexpected turns that Paul’s story took.”
“As best I could, I tried to convey my experience over the past 10 years through this show.”
Jason aimed to take viewers through the story as truthfully as possible.
He said that Paul was the same in real life as in the show.
“Nothing was planned, nothing was staged, so what you see in the show is an absolutely honest depiction of what it was like working with him.”
Jason said that Paul often came up with new ideas or wanted to do something different while filming.
“On set, he would have an idea of how he wanted to add something, do something different, talk to the camera, try a new idea.”
Jason added that he indulged in those ideas because they could lead to something interesting.
“Sometimes it was exhausting and a little difficult filming these scenes that he had written that I thought were very funny and interesting and revealing on paper.”
“We would get there and have actual actors do them, and it was, you know, deeply uncomfortable. All of that is reflected in the show as well.”
“What you see in the show is, to my mind, a very honest depiction of the process of making the series.”
Paul T. Goldman airs Sundays on Peacock.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.