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Interview: Jay Duplass on Working with Amanda Peet and Sandra Oh in ‘The Chair’

THE CHAIR (L to R) JAY DUPLASS as BILL in episode 102 of THE CHAIR Cr. ELIZA MORSE/NETFLIX © 2021

Jay Duplass steps back in front of the camera to play Bill Dobson, a professor who ends up as the subject of student protests when he makes a questionable move his university deems very problematic, in Netflix’s The Chair, from creator Amanda Peet. Awards Radar had the chance to speak with Duplass again (after Joey’s prior conversation last year, found here) about this project and to reminisce about our last time talking, for the very underrated film Pink Wall (available to stream on Hulu), which premiered at SXSW in 2019.

On how The Chair came into being:

“Amanda Peet and I were working together on Togetherness, and that was a big, breakthrough part for her. We just hit it off and loved working together. When that show ended kind of early, after two years, we kind of knew that we had unfinished business. For a while, she and I were trying to figure out a movie we were going to do together and maybe even act in together, and eventually, she came up with this concept of The Chair and was thinking about Sandra for the lead and was like, I want you to star in it with her.”

On the potential concern that portraying cancel culture would be met with negativity:

“Oh, totally. We knew that we were playing with fire with this. When we started developing it, it was more early days on cancel culture as well. So we knew it was dangerous territory, but also we knew that we wanted to come at it from a place where all points of view seemed reasonable, and that people are just trying to find their way in the world. More than anything, we felt like academia was the far cutting-edge of this thought, and if they can’t figure it out, there’s not much hope for any of us. It’s also just fun to watch smart people get desperate.”

Listen to the entire conversation below!

Stream season one of The Chair on Netflix.

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Written by Abe Friedtanzer

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