If you’ve watched television regularly for the past three decades, chances are director and producer Mimi Leder told you a story or two. Best known for their groundbreaking, electrically powered work HE, she has also given television favorites as enduring and impressive as her signature style China Beach, Shameless, and maybe her signature triumph, The rest.
Today as Executive Producer and Director of AppleTV + ‘s The morning show – not to mention the director’s guidepost, who is responsible for selecting the series’ helmets for the episodes it doesn’t tackle itself – leather is once again right in the thick of the making of watercooler-themed TV. The first season explored the aftermath of popular news broadcaster Mitch Kessler’s (Steve Carell )’s big reveal about sexual behavior in the office in the wake of the #MeToo movement, while the women who work around him, including longtime superstar co -Moderator Alex Levy (Jennifer Aniston) and his out of nowhere successor Bradley Jackson (Reese Witherspoon) deal with the complicated episodes.
As Leder reveals in an interview with TV Guide, the show remains up-to-date in its second season: Just as the characters search the rubble of their lives that was destroyed by season 1 – including an upcoming book about the scandal that panics Alex, Bradley’s sometimes uncomfortable development in her on-air and off-air life and Mitch grappling with a somber sense of responsibility – here comes a double blow: COVID-19 shakes the worlds of news anchors and so did veteran TV news star Laura Peterson (Julianna Margulies) called in to clean up the now common mess? TMS.
For season 2, I found it incredibly ambitious what you did to throw those characters whose lives were blown up into the real-life situation where all of our lives were blown up. What did you want to bring into visual storytelling by depicting this big change in the story?
This season everyone asks, “Who am I? Am I a good person?” There is a lot of self-examination and guilt and regret, fear and self-preservation for all characters, and so we explore the issues of identity, fear of culture, race and sexuality. The characters go through a storm of emotions as this COVID lingers in the background like a larger thundercloud. In terms of visual storytelling, maybe I wanted to add complexity to the visual style by adding more handheld work to the show to give you that feeling of discomfort and discomfort. I felt like improving the look of the show this season was important.
Laura Peterson’s new character brings us some seismic shocks into the world of The morning show and who better than Julianna Margulies to play a character with such impact and presence? It must have been a great professional reunion for both of you after all the work together HE as their careers catch fire. I’m curious: did you raise her as the right actress for the role?
I don’t remember if it was me or if it was our incredible casting director Victoria Thomas. I had an amazing experience with Julianna when we were babies and working on it HE. I mean, it was kind of funny: Julianna and I were on stage 11 [on the Warner Bros studio lot] and Jen Aniston was right next door making friends, so we all saw each other at the time. Anyway, Julianna is a great actress and we needed someone who matched the stature and allure of a Diane Sawyer-esque character who was instantly recognizable to the audience, and Julianna brings that to the role, and she brings it that way much more. She’s an incredible actress, an incredible person.
After all the time you haven’t worked together, what was perhaps the big reveal of that point in your career when you were back on set?
: Well we’ve come a long way, baby! That we are so blessed that Julianna just did such an incredible job while at the same time having a family and a fulfilling life. And I’ve been very fortunate to do the work I love to do in this area too, telling the stories I love to tell, and it was just great to catch up and be together again. And it hasn’t changed a bit!
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The morning show is still one of the most beautifully filmed shows on TV, and you guys are having a really hard time building that global reach of being in all of these different places around the world when you were essentially locked in and around Los Angeles with your own real world COVID restrictions and protocols. Tell me how you achieved that sense of global reach – and with such visual beauty – that you achieved in Season 2?
Leather: We’ve had a huge global reach this season: Mitch Kessler on Lake Como, and we’re of course in New York, where our show is, and in Vegas. But of course we were in Los Angeles, so we had to use more CGI, more set expansions, and really think through our visual landscape. For example, when he tells the story of Mitch Kessler, he is on Lake Como, he lives in this incredibly beautiful villa, he is in a very dark place and he is figuratively and literally an exile, i.e. in a prison that he made it myself. for life. So we took him to Italy, where COVID happened before it happened here, and even though you are in this absolutely beautiful place, you can still be in hell, a hell he made himself, caught in the consequences of what he’s done.
So we found this villa in Sierra Madre, California, which used to be an old nunnery, and we used the inside and outside of it as our villa – and it’s a replica of a famous villa in Florence, by the way. So I got myself a drone unit and photographed the whole villa from all angles from above, and then I rented a drone unit in Italy, on Lake Como, and said: “Please, let’s go on a virtual exploration and show me all the peninsulas of Italy . ” And we picked that particular peninsula and then we shot it just like I shot the drone unit in Los Angeles. I’ve shot around this peninsula and shot at it from all different angles, and then we have our villa on the peninsula, Lake Como, CGI-CGI, and that’s easy hand and the tricks we use to get us there transport. And honestly, it felt like we were there because our production designer Nelson Coats is a genius.
You have such a large bank of cast members to work with. Tell me how everyone makes their contribution as you put the show together and how that affects how you do what you do, all of these allstars in the cast.
We have a super deep bank of brilliant actors and a great creative team led by [showrunner] Kerry Ehrin, and we all really wanted to tell an important story. And Jen and Reese are not only great actors but also great producers. And it was really wonderful to experience that again with them. And every actor that works on this show, from the stars to the day players to our supporting cast, all of them work really hard on this show and they bring their experience and they are smart and they have an incredibly smart group of actors and our new ones Actors who got on the show.
Greta Lee represents a millennial voice and how it challenges Cory and his mindset, and we have really smart, great actors. Karen [Pittman, as Mia Jordan] and Desean [Terry, as Daniel Henderson] were really collaborative in their story about race and don’t gloss over it.
Taking these characters through such an emotional and dramatic period in our own immediate story, what do you hope for the impact of their journey on audiences that they experienced when they see Season 2 in its entirety?
Well, that’s a very good question. Our characters go through a lot of catharsis on this show, and they go through a lot of self-examination, and I think they go through a lot of reflection, and I think we as an audience do that too. You know, COVID lingers in the background like a storm cloud and it’s still here, we’re still going through and still reflecting. I think I hope the audience goes through some kind of journey, as well as self-assessment and a look inward like us, like Alex does when she hits rock bottom and starts to rebuild. I hope this story reflects that in some way for anyone who takes this journey and asks the important questions, “Who am I? What else can I do?”
The morning show Season 2 is now streamed on AppleTV +, with new episodes premiering every Friday.