April 23, 2024

Transatlantic Review 2023 Tv Show Series Cast Crew Online

Transatlantic
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Transatlantic Review 2023 Tv Show Series Cast Crew Online

Each year on Passover, Jews around the world retell the story of Exodus during the seder, remembering when the Israelites fled Egypt in search of freedom. It only feels right, then, that Anna Winger’s new Netflix show, Transatlantic, will premiere on the second day of Passover this year.

Transatlantic tells the tale of Varian Fry, an American journalist who traveled to Vichy France in 1940 with a mandate from the just-formed Emergency Rescue Committee (ERC), a private relief organization: Save as many anti-Nazi intellectuals and artists, and help them reach safety. At its core, Transatlantic is a story about assisting refugees in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Though it is set on the eve of genocide, the show is fundamentally rooted in optimism and the power of individual and collective action to make a difference. In history, Fry did save over 2,000 people—including Max Ernst, André Breton, Hannah Arendt, Marc Chagall, and more—helping them escape France.

“I always said I wasn’t gonna do a World War II project. You know, never say never,” creator Anna Winger, who previously made the critically acclaimed limited series Unorthodox for Netflix, tells Town & Country. “This is a really important story to remember in part because it shows you that individuals can really make a difference and that individual bravery can inspire others. A drop in the bucket makes ripple effects that affect many, many, many many people.”

Winger adds, “To me, this is a story that’s greatly inspiring about the future as well as about the past. I felt like it was really a story worth remembering.”

Production on Transatlantic, a seven episode miniseries, took place over five months beginning February 2022 in Marseilles, France, where Varian Fry and the ERC worked from 1940 through 1941. A few days into the shoot, Russia invaded Ukraine. “We’re telling a story about getting refugees out of France, many of whom came from Poland or other countries and territories that had been invaded, and everyone’s moving west and then trapped suddenly in Vichy France,” Cory Michael Smith, who plays Fry, tells Town & Country. “We’re there [in Marseilles] as all these Ukrainians are crossing into Poland. This is such insane event that is mirroring the beginnings of World War II.”

When the war in Ukraine began, Winger says, “It was this feeling of just doubling back on everything. Here we are trying to tell a story about one refugee crisis during one European war, at the beginning of another. It was, for all us, very, very moving and motivating and gave us a strong sense of purpose going forward.” The German annexation of Austria in 1938 led to the start a tremendous refugee crisis, with as many as 65 million people displaced over the course of World War II; since war broke out in Ukraine, over 8 million refugees have left the country, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

“It was a very crazy moment to shoot the series while the war broke out,” actor Lucas Englander, who plays the real-life German Jewish refugee turned economist Albert Hirschman in the show. In fact, the Austrian actor was inspired by the script to help Ukrainians. He recalls, “in one of the drafts or in research material, somebody said, ‘If you can’t get him a visa, then let’s just have important people write him letters of recommendation.’ And there was something about that in this which made me understand, ‘Oh shit, I can do that. We can do that.'”

Englander started asking fellow cast and crew members on Transatlantic to help him, like Grégory Montel, the Call My Agent! star who plays Philippe Frot, a fictional Vichy French police captain in Marseilles. “[Montel] wrote a letter of recommendation, other people wrote letters of recommendation for friends in Ukraine to get them out. That was still in the time when nobody really knew what to do.”

For other actors, the war in Ukraine, coupled with working on Transatlantic, made them reflect on their own family’s history. Ralph Amoussou, who plays West African revolutionary Paul Kandjo, who is working as a concierge at the Hotel Splendide, thought about his Jewish grandmother’s flight from Ethiopia as a refugee. “I felt like history repeats itself again,” Amoussou tells T&C. “You’re just struck by reality and how someone can write something you can relate to it.”

While Transatlantic is predominately focused on Jewish refugees, and the production was thinking about Ukrainian refugees, Amoussou notes their plight is not singular. “We owe all the refugees in the world to tell the truth, their stories,” he says. “We owe this to refugees from Mali, Afghanistan, Iran, all of the people who are in search of a better life, oppressed, on the move constantly. We owe them to tell the story right, to do this right.”

These struggles of oppression and collective liberation linger with the viewer long after finishing Transatlantic. On Passover, Jews remember Exodus 23:9: “You shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the feelings of the stranger, having yourselves been strangers in the land of Egypt.” Transatlantic captures this essential solidarity between strangers, without feeling didactic. It’s a piece of art that moves viewers, and those involved in it.

“I felt really moved by it, watching it, and I felt lucky to have been chosen to be a part of it,” actress Gillian Jacobs, who plays heiress Mary Jayne Gold, tells Town & Country. “I was genuinely moved by watching it. I hope that people have a similar sort of response that I had to it, because I think it’s a special and singular project. I can’t think of anything else quite like it.”

For Winger, creating a period drama like this made her reflect, constantly, on the present. “When you’re working with the past, it’s always really interesting to approach it as a prism through which to understand the present,” she says. “Transnational migration, refugee experience, statelessness is something I think about a lot in terms of current events.” By centering Varian in the story, “he was a familiar sort of American, he might have been someone I knew. There was something about the whole thing that felt very accessible.

“The International Rescue Committee, which Fry’s ERC was a precursor to, is hoping Transatlantic could serve as perhaps a call to action to those helping people affected by humanitarian crises in 2023. IRC President and CEO David Miliband tells T&C, “Fry and his colleagues saved thousands of lives through action and ingenuity—by embracing inventive thinking, taking calculated risks, and building and scaling through success. For 90 years, this spirit has persisted at the International Rescue Committee, as we continue to help and support people during times of conflict to survive and rebuild their lives.”

It’s hard to believe Fry and his peers really did what they did in Marseille; the experience of watching Transatlantic is just one astonished Google search after another. Did Chicago heiress Mary Jayne Gold really help fund the Emergency Rescue Committee? Yes. Did Peggy Guggenheim really show up in Marseilles? Yes. Did Marc Chagall really refuse to leave France until it was almost too late? Yes. Was American diplomat Hiram Bigham IV really forging visas? Yes. And on and on and on… “There is nothing about this story that really makes sense,” Winger says. “You can’t believe it, the more you know about it. These are people who would never have met at any other time and place and yet they enriched each other’s lives and changed the courses of each other’s lives permanently. In that sense, it’s a really positive story. Maybe that could help us going forward.”

Fry’s story, Smith says, “reminds those of us that have empathy and compassion for those that are suffering to reawaken or reignite our care for the security safety and well being of others.” He adds, “The rising tide of goodness can still overwhelm the opposition.” An important reminder, no matter what year it is.

Transatlantic Review 2023 Tv Show Series Cast Crew Online