Mark Duplass has arguably one of Hollywood’s most eclectic careers. On television, he’s known to viewers for his recurring role on “The Mindy Project” and his seven seasons in the cast of FX comedy “The League”, in addition to projects such as year’s “Manhunt: Unabomber”.
On the big screen, Duplass has appeared in “Zero Dark Thirty”, “Safety Not Guaranteed”, “The Lazarus Effect” and, most recently, the Charlize Theron-starring “Tully”. Meanwhile, he and brother Jay Duplass are critically acclaimed indie filmmakers, whose films include “Jeff, Who Lives At Home” and “The Do-Deca-Pentathlon”, in addition to HBO’s animated “Animals”, anthology series “Room 104” and “Togetherness” (in which he also starred).
For his latest project, the 45-year-old New Orleans native has joined the cast of “Goliath” as Tom Wyatt, a powerful real estate developer with ties to the L.A. criminal underworld, who winds up on a collision course with brilliant-but-self-destructive lawyer Billy McBride (Billy Bob Thornton) in the second season of the acclaimed Amazon drama.
As Duplass tells ET Canada, developing the character was a collaborative effort with “Goliath” showrunner Lawrence Trilling, “who pitched me a couple of wild ideas for how to build Tom Wyatt as a character. They are big swings, they are very exciting for me, and they’re things I haven’t quite done yet as a performer. I was excited by not only the unconventional plotting of where you would think a show like ‘Goliath’ might go, but also just the ability to play a character who is so wildly unpredictable.”
Tom, explains Duplass, is backing the mayoral campaign of rising-star politician Marisol Silva (Ana de la Reguera), “and he’s got his eye on a big L.A. skyline.”
“I think that it looks like from the outside a fairly simple story of commerce and politics meeting and the dirty negotiations,” he says of the season-2 storyline, “then it takes a wildly surprising left turn that I don’t want to say too much about.”
As the story progresses, it becomes apparent that Tom has some deep, dark issues that are starting to bubble to the surface.
“I don’t want to say too much about where things go, but what is at the core of Tom Wyatt, I think, is a person who is put in a position of extreme power before he knows exactly who he is and exactly what is wrong with him,” says Duplass. “It’s a fascinating conundrum where you have someone who can do big things but is also wildly unstable.”
While he’s primarily known for comedic roles, Duplass says joining “Goliath” has been an invigorating change of pace.
“It feels great, honestly, “he says. “You look at a show like ‘Goliath’ and you’ve got this tour-de-force giant, Billy Bob Thornton, and the ability to have scenes with someone like him, in its own right, just a wonderful experience. But Larry is such a collaborative showrunner and these shows are being written quickly as we go along, so he was very inclusive to us, to ideas we might have. We used a lot of improvisation on set when we wanted to try new things that either weren’t on the page, or when things weren’t working we could kind of move around so it was a really fun experience overall.”
Meanwhile, fans of his dearly departed FX series were sad to see “The League” end in 2015 — and were understandably excited about the possibilities of a reunion when Duplass shared a photo on Twitter of he and the cast gathered together.
“No one has really approached us about it,” he says of a potential reboot of “The League”. “The other day I posted a picture of all of us hanging out, because we do, the cast, we get together somewhat regularly and unfortunately got people frothing at the mouth thinking a reboot was coming and I don’t see one on the horizon. But if the stars aligned and they were all interested in doing it, I would certainly be open to it. It was a very special experience for us, in that it was all of our first big job. It really united us, like we all feel like cousins. We hadn’t been successful enough to get to become a**holes yet so everybody was just really nice.”
“Goliath” debuts on Friday, June 15, on Amazon Prime Video.