Brian Koppelman, Part 2

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Manage episode 303948603 series 2792939
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In which John Heilemann talks with Brian Koppelman, co-creator, showrunner, and executive producer of the hit Showtime series Billions. Heilemann and Koppelman discuss the genesis of Billions and why Brian was drawn to the world of hedge funds; the fifth season of the show (its finale aired on October 3) and the challenges posed by a months-long, Covid-imposed break in production; the feud between megalomaniacal financial titan Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis) and Machiavellian lawman Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti), and why the addition of rival master of the universe Mike Prince (Corey Stoll) this season is central to the show's future—as Koppelman and his partner, David Levien, explore whether a "good billionaire" is a contradiction in terms. Making a drop-in appearance on the podcast, Billions co-star David Costabile talks about playing Axelrod aide-de-camp and fan favorite Mike "Wags" Wagner; Costabile's history with Koppelman, with whom he went to college; and the evolution of their relationship and Wags's character over six years on the show. Koppelman also reminisces about his early career in the music business and his discovery of Tracy Chapman while he was still an undergraduate; his decision to pursue screenwriting with Levien and their first film, Rounders; Koppelman's struggles with ADHD and the career setbacks he faced before the runaway success of Billions; and the new series he and Levien are making for Showtime, which chronicles the rise and fall of Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick.

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