James Marsden and Ronald Gladden celebrated Jury Duty Emmy noms like ‘drunk college buddies’
The party’s just getting started for Jury Duty stars James Marsden and Ronald Gladden.
On Wednesday, nominations were announced for the 2023 Emmy Awards, and Amazon Freevee’s surprise hit comedy picked up four nods: Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for Marsden, Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series, and Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series. Once Marsden found out that he earned his first-ever Emmy nomination for playing a fictionalized version of himself, he immediately called up his onscreen-turned-IRL BFF Gladden to celebrate the news.
“Once I heard him pick up the phone, I just kind of yelled as loud as I could,” Marsden tells EW with a laugh just a few hours after nominations were announced. “It was just gibberish, I don’t think I was even speaking English. And he started yelling too. It was just like two drunk college buddies.”
Marsden and Gladden star in the genre-bending comedy mockumentary about the jury duty process, but the trial is fake and everyone is an improv actor playing a role except for the hero: Gladden, a solar contractor from San Diego, Calif. who has no idea this was not an official jury duty summons. Marsden plays an exaggerated version of himself … if he was a narcissistic, entitled Hollywood jerk (he promises this is an “extremely created character”). Despite Marsden playing a fictionalized, villainous character, he and Gladden formed a real friendship throughout filming. And once Gladden was let in on the secret at the very end and Marsden was able to be himself, their bond became even stronger.
“I’m always calling him going, ‘How’re you feeling, man? Are you loving this still? Are you hating it? What’s going on?'” Marsden says. “So I called him and he was just over the moon and so gracious. He was immediately congratulatory to me. He’s just a prince, he really is. It makes me feel so much better about what we accomplished here, knowing that he’s enjoying this ride that we’ve taken him on.”
Now that Jury Duty is officially an Emmy-nominated series, Marsden wants Gladden to really soak up this once-in-a-lifetime moment. “I just wanted to make sure he knew that it’s party time,” he adds with a laugh. “We’re in the season of celebration. Whether we win these awards or not, this is a real reflection of what we did here and what we achieved, and largely due to him and his character.”
As for Marsden, the reality of getting his first Emmy nomination still hasn’t really sunk in. “It’s been a bit of a surreal day,” he admits. “This morning I felt like I had 10 cups of coffee but I had one. I’m still in some sort of dream-like state. I’m not used to this. I usually have no idea, like, ‘Oh, the Emmys were announced today?’ It’s wild. I’m very proud and elated for everyone involved in our show that we thought was a little experiment and the world really took to it. And now this is just the cherry on top, and it feels really, really good, to be honest.”
In fact, Marsden hadn’t even planned on watching the nominations ceremony live. “I knew we were a long shot. My plan was I’d try to go to bed late and sleep in, so I’d wake up and it would have already been announced,” he says, before adding with a laugh, “But I didn’t — I woke up several hours before. I was trying to avoid pacing back-and-forth in my house. I know everyone always says this but I did not anticipate this.”
He didn’t even realize that both he and the show received nominations until he texted Jury Duty executive producer David Bernad to congratulate him for his White Lotus nomination. “I said, ‘Hey, White Lotus! That’s awesome!’ And he said, ‘Jury Duty too!’ And I was like, ‘Wait, what?!'” Marsden says. “I guess there was a delay. He was telling me but I didn’t want to be spoiled so I put my phone on Do Not Disturb, and then the show was over and didn’t announce ours, and I took the Do Not Disturb off and opened my phone back up and there was a flood of texts and at the top was David Bernad saying, ‘You got nominated!’ I think I elevated a few feet off my couch.”
Emmys aside, the fan response to Jury Duty continues to blow Marsden away. “It felt like this tiny contained backyard experiment we were doing in an old abandoned courthouse with this guy Ronald,” he says. “And I was like, ‘Who’s this guy? Is what we’re doing even okay? Is it morally questionable? How do we take care of him and make sure we’re celebrating this guy by the end of it but still make it funny?’ There were just so many question marks and it was unlike any show I’d ever been a part of, so I never left the set thinking, ‘Oh wow, this is going to be amazing.’ I always felt, ‘This could be amazing, but so many things need to line up for it to work.'”
He pauses, then adds, “And here we are, talking about four Emmy nominations. I can’t really describe how insane it all feels!” And this time, it’s actually real — no elaborate experiment with hidden cameras here.
The 75th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards are currently scheduled to air on Monday, Sept. 18, at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on Fox.
Source: Entertainment Weekly