'Mozart in the Jungle' Co-Creator on L.A. Philharmonic Director's Series Cameo

"He's quite natural," Paul Weitz says of Gustavo Dudamel, upon whom the series is loosely based.
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Gustavo Dudamel, 'Mozart in the Jungle'

A version of this story first appeared in the Dec. 25 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Amazon’s classical music dramedy series Mozart in the Jungle struck the right melody for Hollywood Foreign Press Association members, who handed the show two Golden Globe nominations in the musical or comedy categories for best TV series and best actor for star Gael Garcia Bernal.

The recognition arrives ahead of the rollout of the second season — available to stream on Dec. 30 — but no matter what happens on Jan. 10, Paul Weitz already feels like a winner.

Weitz, creator of the show along with with Roman Coppola, Jason Schwartzman and Alex Timbers, directed an episode featuring the man on which the series is loosely based — Los Angeles Philharmonic music and artistic director Gustavo Dudamel.

“He’s quite a natural in front of the camera,” Weitz tells THR of the role, which cast Dudamel as a stage manager. “It was certainly intimidating because we were filming in his house — in the bowels of the L.A. Phil. But like a lot of great artists, he was self-deprecating, thinking that he was terrible. He’s great and he and Gael have a lovely rapport with each other.”

Weitz, who also wrote and directed the Lily Tomlin starrer Grandma that landed her a Golden Globe nomination, adds that Dudamel gave series star Bernal conducting lessons before shooting a big scene over the summer at the Hollywood Bowl.

“He and Gael were pulling each other’s legs,” Weitz says. “Gustavo has a great sense of humor and has kind of embraced the idea of the show being about him. So little light is shined on the classical music world that the big stars of that world are all just excited that it might bring more people and interest to what they do.”