A Chat with Mark and Jay Duplass (click here for part two)
What do you guys think is the key to making
a successful creative brother team?
Mark Duplass: Therapy.
(Courtesy Movie Web)
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Steve: The next question isn't about the film itself, but one of the overriding
themes is the shit things people do even to their friends to make a movie.
Mark: Desperate people.
Steve: Yeah, desperate people. Is there anything at all in your
past lives you could relate to there, or was it a total fiction?
Mark: Well, we've definitely experienced, in traveling to film fes-
tivals, the lives of desperate filmmakers and desperate actors.
It's one of the hardest things in the world to make a success.
Jay: People are generally dedicating every ounce of their energies and ab-
ilities to accomplishing that one thing, and a lot gets damaged. I mean, Mark
and I are more-we mostly just damage ourselves. [laughs] I don't think we real-
ly-it's more interpersonal dynamics or emotional damage. We're used to it.
Kathy: And you make movies about that, so it all works out in the end. [laughs]
Mark: And we did. We want to explore that.
Robert Rodriguez shooting El Mariachi
Steve: So far, what's the shittiest thing you've done to get a movie produced?
Kathy: And keep in mind you've got that Texas precedent, like Robert
Rodriguez with those cholesterol studies. That's a great example.
[Rodriguez became a human guinea pig to fund El Mariachi.]
Mark: Exactly [laughs] That was pretty extreme: Pharmaco.
Steve: You can say, 'We would never do such a thing,' and we'll take that.
Mark: No, we definitely would! [laughs]
Kathy: He made a movie on his own terms, so...
Jay: We would absolutely do it.
Steve to Mark: That's a good attitude. I want to ask you specifically about Humpday. You'll be working with a local filmmaker. Are you coming back to make that?
Mark: Yeah, I'll be here in a couple of weeks.
Kathy: Apparently, she [Lynn Shelton] didn't know you were coming to town for SIFF.
Mark: We didn't even know we were coming until about four days ago.
Steve: We look forward to seeing you again. How did you think
the Seattle audience responded to your film last night?
Jay: They totally got it, and that's why we're opening the
film in Austin and Portland and Seattle before New York.
Kathy: I read The New York Times article, and they made a
really big deal about that. It doesn't seem that weird to me.
Jay: It doesn't seem that weird to us either.
Kathy: It just makes sense.
Mark: Those are the cities that got our movie.
Jay: Everyone last night got it. They knew exactly what we
were going for, and that's what our strategy is all about.
Kathy: Seattle loved The Puffy Chair.
Jay: That's why we wanted to preview it here, to give the movie some
time to get its legs and up on its feet and to be appreciated before-
so it doesn't have to perform perfectly that first weekend in LA.
Mark: It's definitely a case of: why not open the
movie in a place where they love the movies.
Kathy: Isn't that a little scary, too, though? I thought, 'What if I
don't like the film?' Fortunately, I felt relieved while watching it.
Jay: We were definitely worried. I mean, we knew we were tackling
something pretty different with this film than The Puffy Chair, and that's
a big risk in terms of your sophomore effort. All eyes are on you.
Kathy: And then you get The Strangers-a guy with a bag on his head.
Mark: Even on paper, Baghead looked very different from The Puffy Chair. We found out on set we're kind of hopelessly and helplessly ourselves, and what we're inter-
ested in and where we're always gonna turn the camera on, at the end of the day, is these faces and what these people are doing to each other. It's always gonna be personal. I mean, if we literally went out and made a full-on animated science fiction film, it would still feature someone getting their feelings hurt. It's just what we like.
Click here for part four
Baghead opens at The Varsity on Friday, 8/8. Images from The Cornell Chronicle (Rodriguez directs Carlos Gallardo), MovieFreak.com (Baghead still), and Movie Web (Mark and Jay with the same set of bowls I own...well, not the same exact set).