Schitt’s Creek co-creator Eugene Levy has opened up about revealing his authentic, non-adventurous side in Apple TV+’s The Reluctant Traveler, which he said gave him “a sense of confidence.”
In The Reluctant Traveler, which debuts on Friday, Levy is taken out of his comfort zone as he travels the world visiting dangerous places and partaking in activities such as taking a stool sample from an elephant.
Reluctant Traveler EP David Brindley revealed that himself, Apple and Levy’s agent had initially wanted Levy to front a more traditional travelog but pivoted the idea somewhat to suit his reluctance to traverse the globe.
“You constantly strive for authenticity in TV so the show we originally pitched would never have worked,” said Brindley, who is Chief Creative Officer of ITV Studios-backed Reluctant Traveler producer Twofour. “We had to build this around Eugene’s authentic experience.”
The multi-Emmy winner, who created Canadian smash hit Schitt’s Creek with son Dan Levy, described himself as having a “low sense of adventure” and being “very low on the curiosity side.”
“You need these attributes to host a travel show so when they asked me to do it I thanked them but said they can find someone better,” he added. “But they kept coming to me with the reasons why The Reluctant Traveler would work and eventually it made sense to me as long as I could be myself and didn’t have to pretend I love traveling.”
In The Reluctant Traveler, which was one of the first Apple unscripted shows to come out of the UK, Levy explores places, cultures and hotels in the likes of Costa Rica, Finland, Italy, Japan, the Maldives, Portugal and South Africa. Taking a stool sample from an elephant was his toughest moment, he admitted, although this “showed how far he had come,” according to Brindley.
But Levy “came to enjoy” showing a side of himself he had never shown before, in what is the first unscripted show hosted by the auteur-actor, and he hopes its fanbase will include both seasoned and non-seasoned travellers.
“I’ve never had to talk about myself so much in my entire life,” he added. “I have phobias and I reveal them [in the show]. They are not startling but I have never commented on them to anybody. It doesn’t sound very manly to talk about not being fond of spiders, or whatever.”
By production’s end, Levy said he had discovered a “sense of confidence in myself, a sense I can stand up and work with people and be myself on camera.”
He added that the show, which joins a roster of big-budget Apple Europe unscripted offerings including Ewan McGregor travelog Long Way Up and natural history show Tiny World, can “compete with any travel show in terms of production value.”
Brindley said Levy can inspire a generation of people who don’t necessarily crave adventure.
“You want people to feel they can give things a go, open their mind and broaden horizons because, you never know, they might just like them,” he said.