• Golden Globe Awards

Nominee Profile 2021: Andy Samberg, “Palm Springs”

A fun, imaginative, and thought-provoking work, smart enough to embrace the realization that priorities in life can and do change with the passing of time, Palm Springs is the recipient of two 2021 Golden Globes nominations, including one for Andy Samberg for Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.
Smartly scripted by Andy Siara and directed with aplomb by Max Barbakow, Palm Springs serves up a finely balanced mixture of loose-limbed ribaldry, armchair philosophizing, and emotionally resonant melancholy, and was acquired for distribution by Hulu out of the Sundance Film Festival in 2020, in what was a record-setting deal at the time. The COVID-19 pandemic unfortunately limited the United States theatrical release of this science-fiction-tinged romantic comedy to a handful of drive-in theaters. But audiences still found it, making Palm Springs the most-watched movie over its first three days of release in streaming platform Hulu’s history.
The film’s basic conceit, of being forced to live a single day over and over, has been plumbed onscreen before, perhaps most famously in 1993’s Groundhog Day. But for Samberg, this was a project whose appeal, originality, and enormous potential was instantly apparent. “You know, I don’t get sent everything, but I get sent a lot, between acting and producing. And this was one where the second I read it, only about 30 pages in, I told my wife, ‘I think this might be something I’m going to try and do,’” the 42-year-old shared with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. “It just jumped off the page. It was funny already, and it had a tone that I connected with because it straddled the line between comedy and drama in a way that made me feel like I’d be in my comfort zone.”
Set in the California desert resort city of its title, Palm Springs follows Nyles (Samberg), a rakish loafer and wedding guest who, stuck in “one of those infinite time loop situations you might have heard about,” finds himself reliving the same day – including antagonistic interactions with the enigmatic Roy (J.K. Simmons), who nurses a special grudge against Nyles. When sister-of-the-bride Sarah (Cristin Milioti), experiencing her own existential crisis, gets pulled into the same circumstances, it puts the seemingly perfectly matched pessimistic pair on an entertaining glide path which eventually foists some difficult decisions upon them.
“I liked what (the script) was saying thematically,” said Samberg, who in 2014 won a Best Television Actor in a Musical/Comedy Series Golden Globe for his work in Brooklyn Nine-Nine. “Because (Nyles) was adrift before he got stuck, you know? Like, he was stuck metaphorically and then he became stuck literally, and I think we can all connect to that feeling – especially with the circularity of life, once you become an adult and you get into the rhythm of your life with your job or whatever your family situation is.”
For Samberg, having the right scene partner to play opposite of was also integral to the movie’s success since – despite what its subject matter might have one believe – Palm Springs’ modest budget and shooting schedule did not allow for an endless number of takes for each scene. After seeing Milioti’s work in both Black Mirror and the second season of Fargo in a concentrated period of time, Samberg was impressed, and he invited the actress for a general meeting with he and producer Becky Sloviter. The pair hit it off, and when Palm Springs came his way, he immediately thought of Milioti. “She’s someone who is really funny and clearly loves and understands comedy,” said Samberg, “but also has legit dramatic chops that could counterbalance my energy in a nice way and, you know, raise my game to make me look like a better actor.”
Born in Berkeley, California, to an elementary school teacher mother and photographer father, Samberg fell in love with comedy, performance and creative writing at an early age. After attending University of California, Santa Cruz for two years, he transferred to New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where he graduated in 2000.
Samberg would then reconnect with childhood friends Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone in Los Angeles, forming the comedy collective Lonely Island. After several years honing their craft via short films and music video parodies, Samberg would rocket to fame in 2005 as a featured player and writer on Saturday Night Live. Schaffer and Taccone, who also signed on to the show as writers, continued to helm and appear in the digital skits which would become their collective calling card. That collaboration has served as the foundation for much of Samberg’s career, spanning four studio albums and two movies, 2007’s Hot Rod and 2016’s Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping. (The duo also serves as producers, alongside Samberg, on Palm Springs).
Married to musician Joanna Newsom since 2013, Samberg will next be seen reprising his role as Jake Peralta in the eighth and final season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, consisting of 10 episodes for NBC. He will also lend his voice to a pair of big screen projects: returning as the goofy Johnny Loughran in the fourth installment of the Hotel Transylvania franchise, alongside Adam Sandler and Selena Gomez; and teaming up with John Mulaney as the animated title characters in a live-action hybrid version of Chip ’n’ Dale: Rescue Rangers for Walt Disney Pictures.