Two of Reese’s The Morning Show co-stars – Mark Duplass and Gugu Mbatha-Raw – talked about Reese in recent interviews about the show:
Listen: ‘Morning Show’ Star Mark Duplass Reveals He Was ‘Nervous’ Working With Reese Witherspoon
Mark Duplass is a man of many hats — he’s a writer, director, producer and actor. One of his most high-profile gigs in front of the camera as of late is Chip Black, Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon’s producer boss on “The Morning Show,” the Apple TV Plus series about a morning news show that implodes after its longtime anchor (Steve Carell) is accused of sexual misconduct.
The first scene he shot with the Witherspoon is one in which she’s screaming at him in an office hallway. “I was nervous because I hadn’t spent a lot of time with her personally yet,” Duplass, 43, says on Wednesday’s episode of the Variety and iHeart podcast “The Big Ticket.” “We have a lot of mutual friends, and I knew Jen Aniston and Steve Carell a little bit before this, but I knew Reese the least. I also had a huge crush on her when I was 15 after I saw her in ‘The Man in the Moon.’ It wrecked me. I was in love. It was a whole situation. So I was just like I had a lot going on in this. I wanted to do well and be impressive.”
The first few takes came off “stilted,” Duplass said. “So I just asked her. I was like, ‘Should we just do one where we’re just on?’ Then as soon as we did that, it broke it right ope. I was like, ‘Oh, there it is. Here we are.’ She started throwing out all that stuff about, ‘Charlie, Chip, whatever the f–king flavor your ice, your name.’ It got all loose, and it really started working.”
The series had already started filming season two when production was shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. “I have no idea when I’m going to go back to production,” Duplass said. “I am specifically not asking anyone over there because I know all they’re getting all day long is, ‘When are we going back?” And they’re in no way equipped to answer that question, and I don’t want to put any more stress on them. So I’m just kind of just trying to do my part. If our whole part in this pandemic is stay home and do nothing, I’m also trying to do that same thing by not bothering them.”
‘The Morning Show’ Star Gugu Mbatha-Raw On America’s Cultural Awakening & The Road To A New Normal
Gugu Mbatha-Raw knew her role on The Morning Show would be a challenge. As Hannah Shoenfeld, the talent booker who survives a sexual assault, she provided a crucial turning point in the Apple TV+ series that centers on the sexual misconduct that plagued a news organization. It was her story, and ultimately, her tragic fate, that put a spotlight on unchecked abuses of power. Mbatha-Raw tapped into a gamut of emotions to showcase a trauma that so many women are only too familiar with, and hopes that Hannah’s tragic ending can serve as a cautionary tale, showing the value in not staying silent.
DEADLINE: What else drew you to the show as a whole?
MBATHA-RAW: Obviously, the cast. Knowing that this is Jennifer Aniston’s first return to TV since Friends, I knew it was going to be a big deal. I’d worked with Reese Witherspoon very briefly on A Wrinkle in Time, and really respected the way she has been championing female voices in her storytelling and her production company. Steve Carell obviously is such an amazing actor with such a range. I was intrigued by Apple TV+ because it didn’t exist really at the point that I got the scripts and knowing that it was going to be a new streaming platform, I thought it was a fascinating and interesting experience to be part of something brand new like that.
It was the first time post-#MeToo that I’d read anything that addressed the power dynamics in the media landscape so directly, but also in a nuanced way. I thought the conversations were going to be interesting and provocative, and hopefully potentially healing if we got it right, in terms of showing all the different perspectives and looking at the gray area of these issues. Because I think it can be very easy to simplify them when things become a hashtag, and things become just very much part of the zeitgeist. I think it’s always important to remember the human cost and look at those issues more intimately. So, I was excited by that challenge.