• Golden Globe Awards

Nominee Profile 2022: Mark Duplass, “The Morning Show”

If a world of increased specialization has led to a decline in renaissance-type professional exploration, word of that thankfully somehow hasn’t reached Mark Duplass. His varied career has served as an outward manifestation of his boundless intellectual curiosity. Since bursting onto the scene in the mid-2000s, the 45-year-old multi-hyphenate has, along with older brother Jay Duplass, amassed a prolific filmography as a director, writer, producer, and actor. It’s for his work in the latter category, in the second season of The Morning Show, that Duplass is honored this year with his first Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Miniseries or Television Film.
Breakfast news shows are anchor-type programming for networks, fueling ratings battles where a tension between hard facts and lighter “infotainment” is ever-present. Weaving that drama in the narrative, The Morning Show chronicles the turbulence and fallout with which Alex Levy (Golden Globe winner Jennifer Aniston) and new co-anchor Bradley Jackson (Golden Globe winner Reese Witherspoon) have to grapple following a sexual misconduct scandal which fells the previous co-anchor Mitch Kessler (Golden Globe winner Steve Carell).
Research was part of the normal process of preparation for Duplass, but he and his wife Katie Aselton didn’t engage in any live-TV morning binging. “My kids are too young for me to do anything like that at all,” said Duplass with a laugh during a 2019 interview with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. “It’s just breakfast and lunches and then sprinting off to work.”
For his role as Charlie “Chip” Black, the perpetually harried executive producer of the eponymous TV show, Duplass did, however, find some common terrain with his own professional life. “When you’re on a morning show you have to move quickly and you have to move with confidence because [everything is] happening so quickly — which is not dissimilar to being on a film set,” he continued. “Oftentimes the system is set up so that in order to ‘win’ you have to not think about nuance, you have to move decisively, quickly, and just go.”
Moving quickly is something with which Duplass is familiar — he and his brother are big proponents of living by doing. Made for just $15,000, their directorial debut, The Puffy Chair, premiered at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival. It won the Audience Award that year at South by Southwest.
Opportunities flowed from this critical reception and begot a fertile period which would see the brothers make four films in five years, including Baghead, co-starring Golden Globe nominee Greta GerwigCyrus, starring Golden Globe nominee John C. Reilly, Golden Globe nominee Marisa Tomei, and Golden Globe nominee Jonah HillThe Do-Deca PentathlonJeff, Who Lives at Home, starring Jason Segel and Ed Helms.
The Duplasses’ work during this time, characterized by naturalistic acting and low-budget DIY production, would become a cornerstone of the so-called “mumblecore” sub-genre. Their deft touch with juggled tonalities would find a welcome home on the small screen. Alongside his brother, he has enjoyed a fruitful relationship with HBO, co-creating the anthology series Room 104 and the comedy-drama series Togetherness (2015-5016). Additional TV credits include The League, The Mindy Project and Goliath.
It may seem difficult to believe, but the brothers’ last feature film directorial credit came one decade ago. Since then, however, Duplass has executive-produced nearly 30 films, taking a writing or co-writing credit on seven projects, including 2016s romantic drama Blue Jay, in which he co-starred with Golden Globe winner Sarah PaulsonTable 19, starring Golden Globe nominee Anna KendrickPaddleton, in which he co-starred with Golden Globe nominee Ray Romano.
Duplass has made it a mission to lift up and mentor dozens of independent filmmakers in projects ranging from this past year’s Language Lessons, which Duplass co-scripted with co-star/director Natalie Morales, to the science-fiction romantic comedy Safety Not Guaranteed, which spring-boarded director Colin Trevorrow directly to Jurassic World.
All this while also working as an actor in his own projects as well as many others, from Greenberg and Zero Dark Thirty to Tully and Bombshell. Given this, it’s hard to say exactly which “hat” represents his main gig. That’s just the way Duplass likes it.