Ben Stiller On Making ‘Severance’, Meeting Volodymyr Zelenskyy And Prioritizing Fatherhood
It’s a little over a month since Ben Stiller returned from Ukraine. It was there, as part of his work representing the UN Refugee Agency, that Stiller was granted an audience with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, currently defending his country from a war of Russian aggression. It isn’t often that Ben Stiller is starstruck, but he marveled at Zelenskyy’s path, from comic actor to unflinching war premier. “I was really taken by the resilience of the people of Ukraine, and of the President,” he says now. “His incredible sense of how he has risen to the moment and offered his people leadership and true resolve to get through this awful situation.”
It would be churlish — insulting, even — to draw a comparison between a man fighting for the survival of his country and one who has just directed several episodes of a popular new television show. But leadership — particularly the quality that makes one good at it — appears to be of real fascination to Stiller. It is baked right into Severance, the Apple TV+ phenomenon that has earned Stiller two more Emmy nominations, as Adam Scott’s Mark grapples with his conflicting desires to ascend the corporate ladder and unpick the puzzle of the mysterious organization he works for.