William Jackson Harper interview: ‘Love Life’
William Jackson Harper isn’t necessarily a huge romantic comedy fan, despite leading the second season of “Love Life.” The actor plays Marcus in the HBO Max anthology series, a book editor who is struggling to figure out what he wants in life, particularly when it comes to women. Over the course of the season, Marcus ultimately grows as a person and finds true love by the end of the season, but not without showing the struggle of getting to that place. “I think that’s what sort of sets ‘Love Life’ apart, is that it’s really a character study, just set in this genre,” says Harper in an exclusive new interview for Gold Derby. Watch the full video chat above.
As we see in the first episode of the season, Marcus is addicted to his work, even answering emails while at a wedding. His marriage falls apart and he is left trying to figure out a new plan for his life. Harper found some relatable qualities in Marcus’s intense focus on work, as well as his pattern of mistakes in love. “In my early 30s, I was constantly in pursuit of something at the expense of all other things,” he admits. “That can render some pretty serious damage in your life if you just don’t really tend to those other areas of your life that make you a full person.”
SEE over 450 interviews with 2022 Emmy contenders
Marcus ultimately meets Mia (Jessica Williams), with whom he has an instant connection as they start down a somewhat rocky path to falling in love with each other. Like their characters, Harper had a spark with Williams, who he praises as the full package. “Marcus needs to be in awe of Mia and a little bit afraid and think that she’s way cooler and that she’s so out of his league,” the actor observes. “That sort of was the starting point for how I viewed our relationship.” From there, they found an “easy rhythm” that they developed over the course of the season. “I feel like it’s something that we didn’t force.”
Harper’s performance in “Love Life” landed him a Critics Choice nomination earlier this year, in addition to a nomination for his work in “The Underground Railroad.” The busy actor will next be seen in a new Peacock series opposite Cristin Milioti called “The Resort,” which he reveals will be a wild ride. “It’s unlike anything I’ve ever worked on before,” he teases. “Everything about it is very different from stuff I’ve done, so I’m super hyped.”