How Does Emmy Winner Billy Crudup Prepare for His ‘The Morning Show’ Character?

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“You simply have to take the script at face value and try to build your understanding of the character from the words that you’re given.” – Billy Crudup

On Apple TV+’s The Morning Show, actor Billy Crudup portrays Cory Ellison, a network executive with unclear motivations who forces behind-the-scenes gamesmanship pitting several characters against one another. The Tony Award-winning actor has already received an Emmy Award and Critic’s Choice Television Award for his performance. The Almost Famous and Watchmen star spoke to Gold Derby about his nominated role, and in particular spoke about what goes into portraying a character who has very different attributes than himself.

Regarding the Cory’s actions, Crudup remarks, “I try to reserve judgment about the characters that I’m playing, personally.” But to portray such a manipulative character, Crudup has plotted his character’s actions to a minute level of detail. He explains:

“I have got pages and pages of notes trying to describe the motivations of every head turn, blink and stutter. There is no end to the discovery that goes into somebody with this kind of mindset. Everything is observed by him. Everything is considered. He has incredible predictive powers and he’s also ready to pivot on a dime. So when you go to actually film that, you don’t want to wing it. You want to have an idea of the sorts of things that you can exploit as both a character and an actor that will confuse and disarm the other characters and leave him in more of a position of power. But what that requires from my point of view, and the way that I go about trying to prepare for a character, because I’m not as smart as Cory and I’m not as quick a thinker, and I certainly don’t speak as fast as he does, his brain is organized so that he can take in a number of different highly complex features at once and draw a big picture for people. That’s not the way that I manage my interactions with people (laughs). So in order to render somebody like that, it comes down to work. You simply have to take the script at face value and try to build your understanding of the character from the words that you’re given.”

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