Interview with the Duplass Brothers, part 3

PK: How about "It's a Wonderful Life?" Or maybe that's a generation before you.

MD: I've never watched "It's a Wonderful Life."

JD: It's one of the great Christmas movies. I've seen it a couple of times. But I guess one specific thing that we've noticed about ourselves that makes us kind of laugh  is that  when our friend were watching "Star Wars" we were watching "Ordinary People" and "Kramer Vs. Kramer." These really heavy hitting relationship movies where it's all about the close-up of the face. We got into John Cassavettes pretty early, comparatively, to our friends. It's just something we've always been obsessed with. We tried to emulate other filmmakers for a long time and we failed and, ultimately, we were on the brink of quitting when we luckily found our voice by exploiting these private conversations that Mark and I have always had about people intricacies and how embarrassing their agendas really are and how loveable and funny it is when it comes out in the end. And right now, I think, stylistically in a way we kind of just threw away all of those filmmakers that we wanted to be because it didn't serve us very well. The only thing, stylistically, that really motivates us is documentary filmmaking. It's the one genre where everything we see is valid and riveting and has meaning because you know when you're watching it that it's real and it's true. The stakes are just higher. That's something that moves us. We're looking for that realism in our films. And we hope to bring that documentary realism so that these epically small moments, as we've started to call them, between people and their emotions within - that's everything to us. We want to heighten that to the level where other films have their climaxes, like a building burning to the ground or people being saved from death. Ours is that  somebody cries because they're afraid that they're going to be alone and they work through that moment.

JD: Probably our favorite movie is "American Movie"  which is Chris Smith's documentary about this loveable loser [Mork Borchhardt, director of "Coven."). How easy is it to take a character like that and make fun of him and tear him to the ground. But Chris Smith loved that guy and we felt that and we fell in love with him too. And he's a hard guy to fall in love with. And when you can achieve that thing where you're just laughing at him and then you see your spirit in this guy it's like "Holy shit." We haven't achieved anything like that. That's kind of the path we're on though, and we want you to see some of that strange loveable stuff in all of our characters.

PK: Did you make a documentary called "Comrades?"

JD: I edited a documentary for a filmmaker who's from former Yugoslavia who basically was in the Yugoslavian army in the early 80s. Then when Yugoslavia broke down all of his comrades were in separate armies. So I worked on that with him. Mark and I have done a lot of little documentary type stuff that has definitely influenced how we make movies. But it all comes from our initial obsession with the inner workings of people and how messed up, beautiful and hilarious it all can be.

PK: So, just three quick questions, maybe multiple choice. Mumblecore: change the name? Is there need for a name? And what are you doing next? I believe the next thing on the IMDB is "Jeff Who Lives at Home."

MD: "Jeff Who Lives at Home" - we just shot that. We just wrapped a couple weeks ago in New Orleans. So we'll be editing that and it's a little bit of bigger movie than "Cyrus." We're taking these little progressive jumps up in our career.

PK: And then finally your version of "Star Wars."

MD: Yep, "Star Wars" is coming. But no light sabers this time just sarcastic witty comments that hurt people's feelings.

JD: And Mumblecore. I think it was necessary to bring attention to films that cost under $20,000.

MD: This film was not that.

JD: Yeah, this film was not that. And for us it's very important. We feel like Mumblecore is, ultimately, for the general population exclusionary because people hear it, they don't understand it. Even if you Google it a million times, you're never really going to understand it. For Mark and me it was nice to be associated with something special a while back but ultimately, between us, we're just making films that we want to make. It doesn't fit into any category for us. We're just doing what we love. For this film in particular, we really want people to come see it. We want everybody, we want to invite everybody to come see this film.

PK: Even Kobe Bryant.

JD: Kobe, come on out, man. Let's get sensitive, let's get weird.

PK: But there is a network of filmmakers who are around your age. You work in each other's movies sometimes. You cover similar subjects, the style is drawn from reality. Do you think there's a movement afoot? You know, Dennis Hopper just died recently, so we're wondering when we're going to have another reprise of the 60s where the filmmakers took over studios. Do you think that's possible?

MD: I think the technology based thing that's happened and that microbudget feature films are possible because there's good looking HD cameras that are cheap now. I mean, it used to cost you $50,000 just to get a 16mm camera and the film together to make a movie. We're going to see, and we are seeing, an influx of tons and tons of microbudget feature films being made for $15,000, $10,000 or even under that. But those movies are going to be as disparate and different in and amongst themselves as a lot of movies are. It's almost it's own form, but within that form, style and content is going to be pretty drastically different.

PK: People tend to imitate success. For a while there everybody was doing Quentin Tarantino.

MD: And before that it was the Coen brothers.

JD: And in between there were these obnoxious brothers trying to rip off Coen brothers movies.

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