Ronald Gladden thinks he is just doing his civic duty, with a few cameras following him. He’s not a real documentary about a real trial.
Ronald Gladden thought he was just doing his civic duty, with a few cameras following along. Like all the other participants in the documentary-style comedy series “Jury Duty,” which premiered on Amazon Freevee on April 7, Gladden plays himself in the show — but unlike the others, who are all actors, Gladden actually thought he was participating in a documentary about a real trial.
“Jury Duty,” though, is most definitely not about a real trial. Co-created by “The Office”‘s Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky, the show stars James Marsden, a group of actors, and the unsuspecting Gladden as jurors in a three-week Los Angeles trial. Out of the 12 jurors, Gladden is the only one who isn’t aware that he’s in a carefully plotted comedy series.
Thirty-year-old Gladden is a solar contractor hailing from San Diego, CA, per Collider. According to his Instagram, he seems to enjoy spending time with his corgi, Meatball. He’s also in a relationship, and his girlfriend apparently was in on the joke and helped persuade Gladden to give up his phone during filming.
“We did not think someone today would be so cool about giving up their cell phone. And in fact, Ronald’s girlfriend apparently helped us out with that,” said director Jake Szymanski in an April 8 interview with Primetimer. “Because the night before, he had been talking to his girlfriend at home, and he said, ‘You know, it’s getting really serious. They’re talking about sequestering us.’ And she told him, ‘Oh, that means they’ll take away your cell phone, if they’re sequestering you.'”
So how did Gladden land a starring role in a series he didn’t know existed? It all began when he answered a Craigslist ad asking for participants to take part in a documentary about the judicial process. Gladden was one of about 4,000 applicants who sent a video, said executive producer Nicholas Hatton in an April 6 interview with NationalWorld. Gladden was eventually chosen for his likability. “We really wanted them to have a connection with Ronald, we didn’t ever want him to feel like he was the butt of the joke, or that we were punching down,” he said in the interview.
Gladden himself seems to be taking all his newfound fame in stride. “It still really hasn’t hit me,” he told the San Diego Tribune on April 4. “I’ve been keeping this quiet for a year or so.”
The first four episodes of “Jury Duty” are now streaming on Amazon Freebee, and the final four premiere on April 21. Watch the trailer above.