Get ready to get inside Jeff Goldblum’s head. His new TV series, The World According to Jeff Goldblum, premieres in November on the new Disney+ streaming service. The show follows the curious actor as he gets a new bike, makes a pair of jeans, and goes swimming…with astronauts. It’s just one more quirky entry on his IMDb page, and then there are the wry commercials for GE light bulbs and apartments.com. He has a huge following that creates fan art all across the world: from computer keyboards to Christmas ornaments bearing his face to a larger-than-life statue in London. Locally, his jazz shows at Rockwell in Los Feliz play to packed houses. We talked to the 67-year-old icon just before his program’s premiere.
Your new show is airing on the new Disney+ streaming service. Did you go to the theme park a lot as a child?
The first time I went to Disneyland was in my adult life, and I was already known. So the characters, the people dressed up as Tigger and all that, were very nice to me, and they would say hello, and I started to get choked up and a little weepy being accepted and included in the Disney family like that. Isn’t that something?
The World According to Jeff Goldblum (2019) pic.twitter.com/ysxJjmVWaa— Disney+ (@disneyplus) October 14, 2019
What made you want to go all Bill Nye: Science Guy with your new show?
I started to work with NatGeo and did a few episodes as a guest host of Explorer. And we started talking about some
other show that I might be able to do. There are things that I’m
interested in and curious about, and we came up with 12 topics, and the way we sort of dug into them was unexpected.
We did an episode on pools. Pools have been interesting to me. I went to visit the NASA Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory in Houston. I got into the pool with a snorkel and fins and swam around with a few astronauts who were training to do spacewalks around a whole replica of the space station at the bottom of the pool.
You’ve also got this side hustle as a jazz musician, with a new album about to drop. Will you still be able to tour?
We’re gonna play all over if I have time. We still have that residency at Rockwell in Los Feliz whenever I’m not working—any Wednesday—so we’re there. We’re playing a lot of stuff from the new album, I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This, and there are still a couple of people yet to
be announced who are guest singers on the new album that you’re going to be thrilled with I’ll bet. Fiona Apple is on it.
You’re known for being extremely accessible to your fans. Is it true you’ll meet just about anybody?
At Rockwell I usually meet just about everybody—anybody that wants to meet me. People are very sweet, and I’m happy to take pictures with them, and then I check my Instagram and see if they’ve posted anything.
Speaking of fans…what’s the craziest fan art you’ve seen?
Tattoos. I went to Pittsburgh, my hometown, and there’s a tattoo parlor that has a Jeff Goldblum day once a year where they do exclusively Jeff Goldblum tattoos. I showed up on that day, and I surprised people who didn’t know I was coming, and it was fun. One person allowed me to take the, uh, tool, myself and add a little something to the tattoo they were getting of me.
What about that “sexy” fan-art statue of you in front of London Tower Bridge?
I only just saw pictures of it…then I was on The Graham Norton Show, and, uh, I think they had decapitated it by that point. But they brought the head in, which was almost as big as me. It was enormous.
And who among the new crop of actors are you a fan of?
Ooh, let me see. Well, you know who I love? Off the top of my head? Kristen Stewart. I
really like Kristen Stewart. I saw Olivier Assayas’s movies—she did a couple with him. I liked her in the Woody Allen movie Café Society. I always like her. I think she’s terrific.
She’s kind of quirky-sexy like you. Do you agree with people who call you quirky?
I guess so. I used to be more particular. I would sort of try to steer people towards, “Oh! Unconventional!” or unique in some way. I don’t care. Quirky. Whatever they want to say is fine with me. I just kind of get a kick out of a lot of it at this point, you know?
You’re also known for your style. When you’re lounging at home, do you go full Goldblum?
I’m actually in my closet right now. I’ve got this lucky closet where I have a couch, and I can sit down and look at my little curated collection of [clothes] that I can appear in. But, you know, when I’m around the house, no. The truth is, I kind of am very comfy and don’t dress up much.
What are you wearing right now?
A pair of black workout shorts and an indigo T-shirt they gave me when we did an episode on denim. I saw this T-shirt get dyed right in front of me in this vat of bubbling, gooey, icky, sticky dye. It’s one of my favorite T-shirts. And then over that I’ve got this robe. I do like to wear robes. I’ve got this terry-cloth robe that Wes Anderson gave me after shooting The Grand Budapest Hotel. It’s got his color scheme in it. It’s lavender and purple with a kind of a gold, yellow gold, sort of monogram on the breast —“GB” with a crown for Grand Budapest.
We heard your wife, Emilie Livingston, was an Olympic athlete …
My wife was a rhythmic gymnast in the Olympics. She was the Pan-American champion. She still does Cirque du Soleil kinda stuff, she doubled Emma Stone in La La Land—she did the aerial dancing outside the planetarium in that scene. And just yesterday she finished a commercial that Spike Lee directed where she was doing aerial stuff. My friend Sam Jackson was also in it, for Capital One.
So no problem keeping up with her, then?
The way she works out leaves me in the dust. She’s a world-class athlete, and I try to keep up, but she humiliates me daily. She tries to space the humiliation out so I can just barely handle it. But I do like to play around. Sometimes I’ve gotten her on the tennis court, and she’s just a beginner at that, so I bash it around with her there.
You have two young sons. Is it hard keeping up with them?
Yeah, the four-year-old is Charlie Ocean Goldblum, and the younger one, the two-year-old, is River Joe Goldblum. Every day we seem to find ourselves doing one thing or another with the kids. And this morning, even after our workout, we were out and all throwing the ball around and running around. We did an episode on bikes, and we went to Detroit, and Detroit Bikes made me a bicycle and gave it to me, which I now have and ride that around in the backyard a little bit with them.
Stay on top of the latest in L.A. food and culture. Sign up for our newsletters today.