eugene levy knows he’s not the right person to host a travel show. But the Emmy-winning actor quickly realized that this was exactly why he was the perfect — and perhaps the only — choice to play the reluctant traveler.
vanity fair gets its first exclusive look at the upcoming apple tv+ series, premiering on february 24, in which the co-creator and star of schitt’s creek trades in the rosebud motel for some of the wackiest places in the world . While many would jump at the chance to visit beautiful countries like Italy, Japan, South Africa, and Costa Rica, Levy has always been more of a stay-at-home type of person, dreading everything that comes with royal vacations, from airports to the sightseeing.
“It’s really been an eye opener,” Levy says of the experience. “Saying that you are not really interested in traveling is not the best thing to say. It’s not something that impresses people. and now, I’m getting it.”
we spoke to the titular reluctant traveler about convincing himself to join the concert, worrying he’d “torpedo” his own show, and crossing things off his bucket list.
vanity fair: italy has already been at the top of my dream vacation list, and your venice episode only solidified that. so thanks for giving yourself a good kick in the butt to hurry up and book that trip.
eugene levy: i have always loved italy. It’s actually my favorite place because, well, first of all, the food, but it’s just a wonderful place. It was my first time in Venice, and if you’ve never been, I highly recommend it.
Speaking of trips, you’re currently on one as we speak, right? Is that for the show?
I’m currently in Newfoundland, taking care of my five-month-old grandson while my daughter works, and I’ve never been more exhausted in my life. never never never.
Okay, it’s not as glamorous as what you do on reluctant traveler, but it’s still appropriate that you’re traveling while we’re talking about traveling. >
I have to say, unfortunately, being Canadian, this is my first time in Newfoundland. It’s not necessarily the best time of year to come to Newfoundland, because the weather has been horrible. only cold, rain, fog, snow, I mean, everything. so i miss l.a. at the moment, but it has been a great experience so far, but exhausting, taking care of a little five month old. and we had to adapt to his schedule.
Thank you for lending me a little. so let’s start where the reluctant traveler began. how did this come about?
It’s an interesting story. I was going to say funny, but I should never be the judge when I’m speaking. [laughs.] so I got a call from my agent who said, “we got a call from apple and they want you to do a show about exotic hotels around the world.” ! That’s something!” and I thought, that’s kind of appealing, because I like nice hotels. but it’s a travel show, and I’m not really the best person to host it. It’s not that I don’t like to travel, it’s that I don’t i like to travel. and i’m not a talkative person in real life, and i think you must have that gift when you do a show like this. i’m not a curious person, i have a very low sense of adventure. i’m not the person for this!
so I said, “thank you very much, but I’m going to pass this on. I think you can get someone better.” and then they called me back saying, “they really want to talk to you,” and I said, “I don’t see the point, but I’ll talk to them and explain why I’m not the right person for the job. I went through all these reasons why I’m not the person: “I don’t do this. I don’t have an exotic palette for food. I’m basically a meat and potatoes guy. don’t give me a plate and put an egg on it and let it drip on the food, I wouldn’t eat it.” and I was laughing on the phone, and I was like, this is great, because I’m making my point and it’s not a heavy conversation. What I found out later was that they had a conversation after we hung up and said, “That’s the show. It’s not a show about hotels, it’s a travel show with someone who’s not that interested in “travelling.” Then they called me back, and I heard the argument and I understood it. I mean, it’s like a show that I was playing on my own foibles, where I didn’t have to be someone that I’m not necessarily. but even after saying ok, i still had reservations, because just going through an airport is enough to make me want to stay home.