“In this era of peak television, there’s so much sh** to watch and we feel so much pressure to watch things,” explained Room 104 co-creator and EP Mark Duplass, “We want Room 104 to be your casual dating experience.”
Essentially, the Duplass brothers sought to make a series where you don’t necessarily have to be committed and locked in, rather viewers can check in at their own leisure. Each show isn’t connected to the next in Room 104‘s 12 episode run. The tone, the plot, the characters, even the time period changes episode by episode.
The anthology series debuts this Friday with the only common element running through each episode being a chain, run-down motel.
“You’ve seen the Plaza Suite side of things,” said Mark Duplass regarding hotel comedies referring to Neil Simon’s 1971 feature classic, “this is a Russian roulette where you never know what you’re going to get.”
Room 104 brings to mind Wim Wenders’ 2000 feature The Million Dollar Hotel about the residents in a rundown downtown Los Angeles hotel. However, linking them all together is the murder of one of the venue’s most prestigious residents, a son of a billionaire. The brothers said that the movie didn’t serve as an inspiration. “If we’re inspired by pre-existing material, then we’ll deliver something that’s derivative and terrible,” said Mark Duplass. In fact Room 104 was inspired by the duo’s “travels. Sitting in motel rooms, seeing a ding in a wall, seeing a stain on the carpet, asking why there’s two sinks here, from there a story of imagination emerged,” said Mark Duplass.
One of the clips shown here to the TCA press corps today at the Beverly Hilton featured two Mormon recruiters, who accidentally stumbled onto porn on television.
“Literally everything happens in hotels, it’s a place of infinite possibilities,” added Jay Duplass, “It’s a floating pod where anything is possible.”
When the brothers first pitched HBO programming president Casey Bloys, “We told him we could do this cheap and bring all our star friends,” said Mark Duplass.
The HBO boss though was opened to fresh faces filling out some of the more pivotal roles.
“‘As long as you make it cheap'”, added Duplass echoing Bloys’ directive.