When Apple TV+ hit The Morning Show had its Season 2 production stopped by COVID-19, no one rested on their laurels. According to Emmy nominee Mark Duplass, who played beleaguered producer Chip Black, the show is in rewrites to reflect the current global situation—something they also did in Season 1 as a response to #MeToo.
“We shot two episodes before we shut down due to the pandemic,” he told Deadline following the Emmy nominations announcement on Tuesday, “but I know that they’re also rewriting, which is crazy because that’s what happened in the first season. They had a whole set of scripts [then] and they rewrote everything to include the #MeToo movement, and now we’ve got other, larger, global phenomenon to deal with. I don’t know what they’re doing but I know they’re rewriting.”
The show is celebrating eight Emmy nominations as of Tuesday’s announcement, but notably left off that list were lead actress Reese Witherspoon and supporting cast Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Karen Pittman and Desean Terry.
“I’m bummed about Reese, I’m bummed about Karen Pittman, I’m bummed about Gugu and I’m bummed about Desean Terry. I’m bummed about all of my scene partners,” he said. “They all put in great performances. Some of them are flashier and some of them talked more for certain reasons, and I know it sounds cliché, but the truth is, to single them out is sort of a crazy process.”
Duplass continued, “There’s no doubt in my mind that what Gugu did as a performer was so worthy of that recognition. And I feel the same way about Karen Pittman, who had a much quieter and more subtle storyline. The internal turmoil she had to deal with every day, arriving to a position of power as a Black woman in that industry. And the subtlety, when you watch her performance. The best thing in the world that could happen to me is I could win this trophy and literally just walk it over to Karen’s house and stick it right on her front porch.”
The series, which deals with a sexual harassment scandal on a major network morning show, see’s Duplass’ character battle with his own complicity in turning a blind eye. “Chip sees himself as not having done enough,” Duplass says. and I think it’s really important that we all look at ourselves the way Chip looked at himself… I think if you’re going to tell a white man’s story right now, I think it’s a really interesting one to tell. I’m interested in what’s going to happen to Chip in Season 2, because he’s fired at the end of Season 1 and he loses that power. I’m really happy that we get to tell a story like this on a big platform like Apple TV+ with some amazing women in leadership roles who get to do it through their lens. It’s overdue.”
Duplass said he has no real sense of when The Morning Show might be back in production, but his own production company—with his brother Jay Duplass—is finding creative ways to continue working right now. “We’re making documentaries which can be edited at home safely with archival footage,” he said. “We’re making movies that are shot remotely through video conferencing… One of the projects we’re really excited about right now is a documentary called Not Going Quietly, which stars the incredible activist Ady Barkan, about his journey with ALS and what that means for our healthcare system. We’ve just finished that documentary, and we’re in the process of trying to find a distributor to bring it out into the world.
The Duplass brothers have also just announced a podcast deal with Spotify. “I’d love to say I engineered it for this timing,” Duplass said, “but this deal has been in the works for over a year. It just so happens to serendipitously be the kind of stuff you can make from inside. So we’re incredibly excited.” He added that the form of narrative podcasts is “wide open” right now.