Jake Mcdorman ‘It’s Been Really Easy to Talk Soul to Soul’
The cultural relevance of “Murphy Brown,” which bridged politics and humor, resonates so much today that Jake Mcdorman (“Lady Bird” and “American Sniper”) welcomed a return to the small screen. He co-stars in the revival as the title character’s adult son, Avery, who’s a TV news anchor at a rival station.
What drew you to “Murphy Brown”?
There was November 2016, and everything kind of just changed, where finding my place and what I wanted to do felt different. I was becoming more politically aware and excited to have those conversations. ... I didn’t necessarily expect that to influence the next job I took in the industry. But karmically it made sense; it sort of ticked two boxes.
How do you feel about your character’s politics?
The thing that I admire about him is he’s like, “We have to drive our efforts toward the middle — even though this is the most polarizing time we’ve lived in.”... He’s been on the ground floor seeing this grassroots movement at a more intimate level than Murphy has. It’s the outrage of it that’s brought Murphy on the air; it’s the understanding of it that’s brought Avery on the air. And that’s the source of a lot of their competition. That’s a really important aspect, because you don’t want to just fall into an echo chamber.
What was most important about creating mother-son chemistry with Candice Bergen?
It’s really just a vibe. I flew out to New York to test with Candice ... and I was nervous, obviously, and Candice just busted open the door and said, “Mcdorman, get your ass in here!” I had never met her before, and I don’t know why, but it calmed me down. It established it would be no bullshit. So it’s been really easy to talk soul to soul.
Have you had to adjust your performance style to account for the live sitcom audience?
It’s in a lot of ways easier, if you don’t get too intimidated by it. Because you just pick up on their frequency. ... Film moves at a slower pace and is so up close, and you have your coverage where you’re kind of turning it on. But [here] everyone’s on all of the time and on the same team. There are a lot of technical differences, but at the same time having an audience is energizing in a way that’s really special.