Modest and prolific, Mark and Jay Duplass have built a mini-empire of projects written, starring, directed, and/or produced by the sibling duo. And if there is one common thread through all of them, it’s a commitment to telling stories that are driven by an artist’s vision, coupled with a strong work ethic, and the ability to work with small budgets (Mark Duplass’ keynote speech at SXSW is an instructive look at his approach). Year by year, project by project, their success continues to grow, and opportunities arrive at their door, however, their autonomy is difficult to let go of, even if it means the chance to work on some of the biggest tentpole movies in the cinematic universe at the moment.
During a recent talk at the Writers Guild of America, the pair were asked if Marvel or DC had ever come knocking. “We said no,” Mark stated, though not specifying which company approached them. “The thing that happens when you sign on to a $180 million movie is that the movie is not a movie. It’s a commodity. We’re not in that business.”
“It’s very easy to blow people’s minds in Hollywood. Just say no. Now, if it were Batman and Robin as a 98 percent relationship drama in the Bat Cave… I would bet that’s 12,000 people’s favorite movie,” Jay quipped.
While some filmmakers leap at the chance to play with major studio money and tell a tale on a grand scale, the Duplass’ perhaps rightly realize the kind of narratives they enjoy putting together would clash with what audiences and executives would want in a superhero movie. I’m sure from their perspective, they can’t imagine spending a year or two on a single movie, when in that time, they can work on a handful of projects they are much more passionate about.
The latest from the brothers arrives in February with “Togetherness” season two, and if you haven’t caught up with season one of the terrific dramedy series, now is the time. [via Los Angeles Magazine]