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Mark Duplass on How the End of ‘Togetherness’ Helped Birth ‘Room 104’

Thursday evening witnessed bright skies that eventually became twinkling stars and a hanging moon draped over Hollywood as producers, actors, and eager first-time viewers of HBO’s “Room 104” helped launch the new addition to HBO’s television lineup.

Hosted by Cinespia, the first season premiere of HBO’s half-hour series debuted at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. The 12-episode series was co-created by brothers Mark and Jay Duplass, who are also executive producers on the anthology project. “Room 104” takes the viewer behind the closed door and inside the four walls of a single motel room where we meet different guests on each episode, with each character having its own (and very unique) story. The stand-alone episodes offer varying tones, plots, and even time periods, while the motel room setting remains the same.

“It was an idea we had a long time ago and honestly anthology shows weren’t being made then, we couldn’t get it made for a long time,” Mark told Variety. “And eventually our reputation caught up with us a little bit and once ‘Togetherness’ was done we decided, you know, we want to do something that’s intensely collaborative that tells different kinds of stories, that shows different kinds of protagonists on screen.”

From a tormented babysitter in the first episode, “Ralphie,” to a loving couple celebrating over five decades of marriage in “My Love,” the audience gets to be a fly on the wall for a wide spectrum of interpersonal relationships.

“Jay and I, when we travel, we’re always sitting in these motel rooms and we look at dings on the walls and stains on the carpet and we always imagined what those stories might be,” Mark added.

Even with such a restricted setting, executive producer Xan Aranda recalled, “We wanted to make sure that we had as many places in the room for things to occur.”

The cast boasts a solid list of both new faces, such as first-time actress and professional Muay Thai fighter Natalie Morgan, and veterans including James Van Der Beek and Philip Baker Hall.

“Room 104” premieres Friday, July 28 at 11:30 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.

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