I’ve had so many people nag me to watch this Amazon series, I finally gave in this weekend. It’s quirky and delightful — it reminded me so much of “I Heart Huckabees,” a film I really like:
Thanks to quirky scripts and a smart ensemble cast – which includes Gael García Bernal as the Symphony’s young-buck new conductor Rodrigo, Malcolm McDowell as its outgoing maestro Thomas Pembridge and Broadway legend Bernadette Peters as the Symphony’s manager, Gloria Windsor – it comes off whimsical without ringing off-pitch. “I liked that we were going to do the inside world of classical music and the fun aspect of it,” García Bernal says when asked why he took his role. “[Classical musicians] all breathe and eat and fart like normal people, but onstage they are quite serious.”
Part of the reason for the fun can be traced to the executive-producer pedigree behind the scenes. Jason Schwartzman (Rushmore) got the idea for the series after reading a review for Tindall’s book and brought in his cousin, filmmaker and frequent Wes Anderson collaborator Roman Coppola, and director Paul Weitz (About a Boy, American Pie) to develop it with him; Tony-nominated Alex Timbers (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, The Pee-Wee Herman Show) also came aboard as Mozart’s co-executive producer.
For Schwartzman – who, despite having drummed for indie rockers Phantom Planet, never sat in an orchestra pit before – Tindall’s book just seemed like an obvious television series right from the start. But by his estimation, it took years of lobbying his friends to get it made. “It’s about a subculture that’s huge and right in front of our eyes,” he explains. “It’s not like a secret subculture of mermaid goths that get together. I would talk to Roman about it forever and then only recently Roman was like, ‘We should try to do this.'”