“Frighteningly Easy”: Jeff Daniels Breaks Down His “Corrupt” Man In Full Character


  • Jeff Daniels delves into his corrupt
    A Man In Full
    character, Charlie Croker, describing his Shakespearean fall due to financial ruin.
  • Netflix’s
    A Man in Full
    adaptation faces challenges due to the novel’s complexity, social commentary, and controversial themes.
  • The series will showcase different power dynamics as Croker’s empire collapses, involving various characters seeking personal gain.

Jeff Daniels breaks down his A Man in Full character, Charlie Croker, teasing the extent of the protagonist’s corruption. The Netflix TV miniseries adaptation of Tom Wolfe’s novel of the same name is slated to arrive on May 2nd. It follows the story of Croker, a richer-than-rich real estate developer who loves to flaunt his wealth and power. By age 60, though, his vast financial empire is starting to collapse. As he hurtles towards bankruptcy, several other players seek to use his fall to their advantage. Ahead of the show’s release, Daniels delved deeper into the real estate mogul.

While speaking with Screen Rant, Daniels broke down Croker, teasing the sheer corruption of A Man in Full‘s protagonist. He explained how “frighteningly easy” it was to get into character with the help of Wolfe’s novel and the TV show creator David E. Kelley. Daniels went on to explain how Croker is a “larger than life” figure whose wealth has practically made the world his audience. Then, after years of corruption, he gets a sudden reality check when his debts catch up with him, resulting in a “Shakespearean fall.” Check out Daniels’ statement below:

Frighteningly easy. [Chuckles] Tom Wolfe wrote a great book back in the late ’90s, and David E. Kelly adapted it, and those two people did a lot of the work for me. It’s complex, but it’s all there, and I love this kind of Shakespearean fall from being rich beyond any imagination, larger than life, the star of his own show. Everyone he meets is his audience, he’s just so full of himself, thus the title, and then we cut his knees out.

The bank basically says, “You owe us a lot of money, and you think we’re just going to refinance, but you owe us $800 million by Tuesday. You say you’re going to build another skyscraper, and then you take some of the loan and buy another private jet and a quail plantation.” He’s just corrupt, so, it was a lot of fun to kind of pop that balloon. And just for six episodes, let it just [deflate sound] all over the place. It gets worse [after episode 3]. [Chuckles]

What To Expect From A Man in Full

Image via Netflix

The larger-than-life nature of Croker that Daniels describes is just one aspect of Wolfe’s massive A Man in Full novel. It is by no means an easy novel to adapt, sitting at well over 700 pages and being steeped in satire and controversy. When it was published in 1998, the book stirred much controversy, mainly because of its blistering commentary on Atlanta, as well as on America as a whole. Some readers also found it problematic that Wolfe, a New Yorker, was critiquing Atlanta’s social progress and economic growth.

A Man in Full features numerous subplots and point-of-views in addition to Croker’s central story arc. As leaders in Atlanta recognize that Croker’s empire is falling, some promise to make his debts go away if he does them a favor. William Jackson Harper stars as Wes Jordan in the series, the mayor of Atlanta who tries to persuade Croker to make a statement on a race issue that could help secure Jordan’s re-election. Diane Lane portrays Martha Croker, Croker’s first wife, who is concerned about walking away from her ex-husband’s fall with her social status intact.

Jon Michael Hill also plays a prominent role in A Man in Full as Conrad Hensley, who falls to the bottom of the social class due to Croker but ultimately repays him in a surprising way. The show has a capable crew behind it, with Regina King directing several episodes and Kelley executive producing. However, the series will only have six episodes to cover quite a bit of ground. Fortunately, Daniels’ statement demonstrates that the cast and crew boast some understanding of A Man in Full‘s source material, boding well for the show capturing the book’s complex themes.

A Man in Full

A Man in Full

A Man in Full is a Netflix original series starring Jeff Daniels, Tom Pelphrey, Diane Lane, and Lucy Liu. The limited-series is based on the book of the same name by Tom Wolfe, which revolves around a real estate mogul Charelie Croker in Atlanta. Charlie is facing bankruptcy and must protect his empire from those hoping to capitalize on his misfortunes.

Jeff Daniels , Tom Pelphrey , Diane Lane , Lucy Liu , William Jackson Harper , Aml Ameen , Sarah Jones , Jon Michael Hill , Chanté Adams

Release Date
May 2, 2024


David E. Kelley

Regina King , Tommy Schlamme

David E. Kelley

David E. Kelley