Mark Duplass: It’s interesting because it’s not like one is lesser or greater than the other in terms of our studio movies versus a movie like “Do-Deca.” They’re different animals; they each have their own positives and benefits. “Do-Deca” is like a great demo and “Jeff, Who Lives At Home” is like the polished record. They each have their pluses.
Is "Do-Deca" autobiographical at all?
Jay Duplass: It was actually based on two brothers that we grew up down the street from. They literally created a 25-event Olympics called the “Do-Deca Pentathlon” where you compete against each other. So our concept is totally ripped off and stolen from two brothers who are literally that crazed about sports and about beating each other.
It wasn’t until 2006/2007 that we thought about the concept of the brothers actually becoming estranged, coming back together and reigniting the game 20 years later in their lives. Out of shape, kind of miserable, envying each other’s position in life -- we felt like it had the material to be a full movie.
Over this past year Mark's seen his profile blow up thanks to appearances in a slew of films as an actor, including "Darling Companion," "Safety Not Guaranteed," "People Like Us" and "Your Sister's Sister." What's it been like navigating that side of your career Mark, while staying focused on the directing/writing front?
Mark Duplass: The good news is, all the movies that Jay and I are involved in, whether it’s something I’m acting in or Jay’s short doc, “Kevin,” or whether it’s a big studio movie or a smaller movie like “Do-Deca" -- they’re all under our umbrella and they share a tone of similarity. We’ve discovered that people will discover one and want to go see more.
That’s really exciting for us and we’re happy that cross-pollination is going on. It’s been crazy for the both of us. It just so happened that a lot of the projects we’ve worked on have the pipeline at the same time. We’ve done a lot of talking about ourselves and that’s a weird thing to do. We’re very much looking forward to receding back into our private cave and shutting them out and doing some more writing.
Mark Duplass: We run everything by each other -- from the projects we work on differently to the benefits and efficiencies of drinking soy milk versus almond milk to methods of raising our children to automotive purchases.
Have you been actively seeking out roles, or have directors just been coming to you given your background in the industry?
Mark Duplass: It’s a combination. I’m not actively auditioning for films. I work in movies with directors that I really love and respect, and then in movies I help put together -- that has been the workflow. But you’re right that my popularity has risen a little bit this summer because of the confluence. “Safety Not Guaranteed,” “My Sister’s Sister,” “People Like Us" all coming out at once has created a bit of buzz for whatever reason, and I’m psyched about that. I hope that gives me more opportunities to do good stuff.
That begs the question: Why have you only acted in one of your own films ("The Puffy Chair")?
Mark Duplass: It’s been a practicality thing. There were no real age appropriate roles for me in “Cyrus,” and the age appropriate roles for me in “Jeff, Who Lives At Home” quite frankly were not only better for Ed and Jason, but I’m not a movie star. I wasn’t at the time and it was greenlit at the time. So it’s not something we’re closed to, it just hasn’t been the right opportunity.