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AusChron: Austin’s Got a Brand-New Bag

AusChron: Austin's Got a Brand-New Bag

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I saw The Strangers last weekend with Michael Tully, and realized that Baghead could not have a more appropriate release date. The thought of “bags over heads” creating chills has reached phenomenon status lately. What with The Orphanage and now these two releases. In a way, Baghead is a parody of those films but it’s still very creepy and scary at moments. It’s kinda like a DIY version of Scream, a knowing wink to the conventions of genre but also fully embracing those genres all the while. Josh Rosenblatt has a good cover story for this week’s Austin Chronicle, which features Baghead directors (and former Austin residents) Jay and Mark Duplass as they describe the process of getting their second (and upcoming third) feature made:

Jay and Mark Duplass are called into a movie studio office in Los Angeles to have a meeting with a Hollywood producer. This producer had a good script and might be interested in possibly having hot new indie commodity the Duplass Brothers direct it for him – provided they say the right things, of course. The movie will have a budget of $5 million, or $4,985,000 more than the budget of The Puffy Chair. Jay and Mark like the script. They like the money. They even like the producer.

So, of course, they refuse the offer.

“We’re not the right guys to make this movie,” they say and proceed to list off names of other semiobscure independent filmmakers they met while living in New York they figure would do a better job than they could. The producer is stunned. His secretary is stunned. His other secretary is stunned. The room goes silent. Most directors spend these meetings begging to be given a chance, bragging about how confident they are, about how they’re sure they’re going to make a great film and, in the process, make your studio piles of money. The producer’s assistant actually says to them, “I’m sorry, did you just say you don’t think you’d be right for this movie?” Yup. Meeting over.

Two weeks later, the brothers’ agent gets a call from that same producer. This time he has a $12 million movie he wants them to direct. No meeting. No interview. No questions asked. Just an offer.

They refuse that, too.

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