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Jay Duplass Reveals How New Show ‘Room 104’ Spins ‘Magic’ Tales in a ‘Mundane’ Room

TCA: "Togetherness" ended way too soon, but Duplass also explains why he's content with HBO's decision.

Jay Duplass

Jay Duplass


Meeting with reporters Sunday to promote Season 3 of Amazon’s “Transparent,” Jay Duplass also shared some tidbits about “Room 104” — the new series he and his brother Mark are producing for HBO.

As announced last week, “Room 104” is an anthology series set inside a hotel room. Different characters pass through it in each episode.

Duplass revealed to IndieWire that the show would be set in a corporate hotel located near the Cleveland airport. “It’s the most boring place, the most boring location,” he said. “Just a corporate, $100 hotel outside of the airport.”

Why such a nondescript locale? “What we’re interested in mining is the magic in the mundane,” he said. “That is something that we have always worked on in our filmmaking. We find regular life to be really special and we like to go deep and find the intricacies there.”

READ MORE: Duplass Brothers Reteam With HBO For Anthology Comedy Series ‘Room 104’

Duplass said the anthology series will feature a rotating cast, but “there will be specialty through lines here and there; some secrets you’ll pick up on as the season progresses.”

The room in question is a place where “weird, crazy, magical things happen,” he said, noting that “Room 104” will tackle various genres, including comedy, drama, thriller and horror. “It will be like half-hour mini-movies,” he said. “I won’t say it’s grounded in realism. Mark and I are creating the show and that is our style. But we have some fantasy stuff that’s going to come through the show too. Anything can happen in this room.”

Duplass said there’s “a chance you’ll see us” on camera, referring to him and Mark. The brothers are writing “Room 104” right now.

Coincidentally, TBS last week ordered creator Greg Garcia’s anthology series “The Guest Book,” which has a similar concept: the tale of different guests who each week rent a small-town vacation home. When told of the rival project, Duplass quipped, “We’re going to be competing!”

READ MORE: How Jay Duplass Discovered the Actor Inside Him: Video Interview

“Room 104” comes out of the Duplass brothers’ deal with HBO, where they’re also executive producers on the animated series “Animals.” Their critically acclaimed comedy “Togetherness” wasn’t renewed for a third season, but Duplass said he wasn’t dwelling on the show’s quick end.

“I feel crazy lucky that I got to make two seasons of a TV show exactly how I wanted to make it, without any compromise and with the full support of HBO,” he said. “We conceived the first two seasons, so it kind of ended where we imagined it. We could have continued it, of course. I am disappointed those characters don’t get to live on. But we have a good relationship with HBO and we’re making new stuff.”

Duplass said he’s also focusing on his on-camera work. “It honestly is giving me a little bit of time to work on my acting career, which is brand new for me. That’s been really fun, it’s been a great surprise for me.”

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