Tuesday, July 22, 2008

BAGHEADThe Evening Class Interview with Mark and Jay Duplass

In his Sundance dispatch to The Greencine Daily, Brian Darr queried whether the "nerve-wrackingly fun" Baghead would remain in audience memory 16 years from now? And if, indeed, it had the potential to end up being "the mumblecore film to outlast its moment?"

Baghead's fresh genre mash-up—part comedy, part horror, part relationship flick—completely worked for me, as I imagine it will for others; but, it is in a very real way undeniably tied into this particular moment in the history of independent film, let alone the burgeoning careers of Mark and Jay Duplass, which justifies Brian Darr's prescient query.

Offered the chance to talk to the brothers, I did a little research first and found myself totally smitten with The New York Post video of their arrival at Sundance where they immediately launched into a hunt for free food. Now aware that the way to a mumblecore director's heart is through his stomach, I arrived at our interview at the Prescott Hotel armed with a baggie of homemade empanadas de calabasa (pumpkin turnovers). Their eyes lit up as they gobbled them down right in front of my eyes. We hold these truths to be self-evident….

* * *

Michael Guillén: Since Baghead has already been written up quite a bit, I won't get into its genesis so much as to track what happened with the film once it premiered at Sundance where it was quickly bought up by Sony Pictures. Submarine Entertainment was your agent?

Mark Duplass: Sales agent.

Guillén: So Submarine sold the film for you. Was that something you were anticipating?

Mark Duplass: Selling the movie? Honestly, what we're supposed to say here is, "Man, just the fact that we got into Sundance at all was great"; but, we were anticipating the sale. We really wanted to sell this movie. We weren't able to sell The Puffy Chair at Sundance, it took about a year; but, we felt that—after all the press that was sort of happening about the "mumblecore" movement and things like that—we had a good chance to sell Baghead. So we were pretty hopeful. That being said, the fact that it sold to such a great company so quickly was a huge surprise.

Guillén: I'm not familiar with Submarine. Tell me about them.

Mark Duplass: They're out of New York. It's Josh Braun. Josh Braun actually worked at Cinetic for a while. He's been a lower-key sales agent in the last five-six years; but, in the last few years he's done a lot of partnerships.

Jay Duplass: He's probably sold more than 50% of the movies that have sold at Sundance.

Mark Duplass: He sold four out of the five narrative films and eight out of the eleven docs. He's great. He doesn't take too many movies. He gives you a lot of personal attention and is—plain—just an incredibly sensitive, sweet and intelligent guy.

Guillén: I'm interested in distribution strategies for so-called independent film. Sony has elected a rolling out distribution strategy for Baghead. Can you discuss that?

Mark Duplass: Yeah. When we released The Puffy Chair, Dusty—who's kind of a younger guy in the company—said, "You know what? Why not take Puffy Chair to some smaller cities before you open in New York and L.A. and get creamed, you know?" We all thought that was a really good idea so we released The Puffy Chair in Austin, Portland, and three other cities. It worked out okay. It didn't kill the box office or anything and it was good. It got some word of mouth out there.

Jay Duplass: They were also the types of cities where we felt people were going to connect to the film more, "get it" faster, and it's not such a high pressure market where—if you don't do incredible box office the first week—you're kicked out. The film got some legs, got more reviews, and then when it opened in New York and L.A., it still got creamed but it had a longer life. It also ended up playing about 30 more cities, other small cities, so we realized the film could play in this particular theater in this particular neighborhood. We realized it would get legs and it could play.

Mark Duplass: So for Baghead we decided to do a similar thing—to open in Austin and Portland before we open in New York and L.A.—places where we knew they support our movies and really liked us. Whether that rollout distribution strategy is going to be a success or not, we'll know more in the next three months I guess. But so far, as things are in place, the movie's been very well reviewed, people have responded to it well. It's been reviewed a lot better than we thought it would be because one thing we're always concerned about with this movie—we're always confident about the movie itself—but, the movie pitches so terribly. It's so hard to describe this movie. "Four struggling actors go out into the woods to write a script." It's disobeying a lot of the rules of filmmaking: "Don't make movies about making movies. We don't need anymore of that stuff." But we haven't had any backlash from Puffy Chair fans or anything like that. People tend to like it.

Guillén: In one write-up I read you, Jay, actually said that you don't consider Baghead to be a "mumblecore" film. Do you stand by that?

Jay Duplass: I totally get why we—in general—are lumped into "mumblecore" or are considered the fathers of the movement.

Guillén: I hate that term.

Jay Duplass: I hate it too. Someone in the press had said it was either going to be "mumblecore" or "slackavetis" and we would have rather gone with "slackavetis"; but, we get it. We get why we're considered "mumblecore"; but, this movie in particular … the key element in the move has always been Mark and I having incessant meetings from the writing stage to the directing stage through the machinations of the plot, trying to make sure that all loose ends are tied up, and that we're playing things little by little.

Mark Duplass: In a lot of ways, Baghead is more heavily plotted than most huge summer action blockbuster movies.

Jay Duplass: It's shaggy as hell in the way that it comes across but we plotted it like crazy.

Mark Duplass: For better or worse, it's following and working its way through the rules of the genre. We feel those are distinctions.

Guillén: Absolutely. Baghead has true plot intrigues. I watch movies all the time, hundreds of them, and I have to say that every now and then Baghead had switchbacks that genuinely caught me by surprise.

Mark Duplass: That's so great that you say that because Jay and I as well are such big watchers of movies and we do feel that we get an education for better or for worse by watching film. It makes it much harder to enjoy a movie, particularly an original story line, so I'm glad you felt that way.

Guillén: Another reason why I didn't consider Baghead "mumblecore" was because—if I understand the tenets of "mumblecore" correctly—your characters are a little older than the average "mumblecore" protagonists? They're more in their late 30s than twenty-somethings.

Jay Duplass: Yeah. Michelle (Greta Gerwig) is the only young person in there. Everyone else is in their mid to late thirties.

Mark Duplass: And we liked that in particular for these characters. In The Puffy Chair Josh only had to be 30 to be ready to be put out to pasture because that's when pasture happens in indie rock, y'know? For the actors in Baghead, we really liked the idea that they were just about to hit the glue factory if they didn't do something soon. The age factor cranks up the desperation level that much more, which is what we loved to play with.

Guillén: Being that it was a thirty-somethings cast of characters, and you couldn't cast yourselves for being too young, and both consequently ended up directing, what was your methodology about co-directing? How did you work that out? Did one of you work with certain actors while the other worked with the other actors?

Mark Duplass: That ends up happening a little bit. We never discuss it. Jay holds the camera; I hold the microphone. We set up the scene. Then everybody leaves the set except for me and Jay and the actors so we can have an intimate environment. We run a take without telling the actors anything. There's no blocking, nothing. They get to take it all the way through wherever they want and we run around like a documentary crew trying to catch them, to see what's happening. After that, Jay and I usually take a break. If it went really well, we just follow that through. If it didn't go the way we wanted, then we take a break, he and I talk about it together, and at that point usually we'll split off and one of us will talk to a certain actor about a certain thing and that can be based upon: (a) how long have we been friends with that person and how much trust is there; or, (b) who can communicate with that person better, y'know?

Jay Duplass: But our method is not so much about how we can get them to do what we want them to do; it's more about our going off and having a talk—"What's going on with him? He's in a bad mood."—and it's not like that's a bad thing; it's more like how we can use that? And that's not how we thought it was going to go down. For us it's all about taking where everyone is and what they're fired up about, what's inspiring them, and try to cull that into the most inspiring scene that we can get that day at that time. That's how we see it. We've had a lot of failed experiences trying to jam actors' vibes into a box.

Mark Duplass: The vision in the end becomes whatever is the path of least resistance. The most inspired thing happening ends up becoming our vision. We'll take whatever is coming as long as it's inspired, original, interesting and within the boundaries of the character's arc.

Jay Duplass: And we are relentless about that too. That's the only thing that we're pretty brutal about. Generally, we'll keep fighting until we find that honest thing.

Mark Duplass: We'll reshoot scenes as well. We do that a lot.

Guillén: Did you have any concerns about—I don't want to use the term "self-reflexive" because that implies an irony that was actually absent from the film and whose absence I enjoyed….

Jay Duplass: Thanks! Definite concerns, by the way….

Guillén: And yet, that being said, Baghead's narrative traction follows very closely upon the experiences you have just had on the festival circuit with The Puffy Chair. Did you have concerns about commenting so quickly upon the wake of that experience?

Mark Duplass: Well, we had concerns mostly about just the meta aspects, just the fact that it was a film within a film. We did not want anyone to be thinking about the concepts and the metaphors of what was happening. We wanted people to just be in with these characters, in with these people. That was a concern. That being said, we've always believed in making stories—at least at a younger age or a younger experience level as filmmakers—that we felt we had some authority about, and not making the movie about the young family that tried to cross the Sahara desert but making it about what we really knew about. What we knew about after The Puffy Chair was the lives of these actors and filmmakers trying so desperately to get to where they wanted to go. We felt we had intimate knowledge of that and were in a unique position to make a movie about that. In that way we felt more confident about what we had to say about these people. In particular, they're an annoying breed. The first scene in Baghead at the Q&A was us! That was Jay and I up there. It was painfully obvious to us how cocky and ridiculous you become at a Q&A. It's you telling the audience how amazing you are.

Guillén: Or, inversely, how cocky audiences have become with their pat questions.

Mark Duplass: They want to show you that they know what to ask.

Guillén: As an interviewer, this is something I always agonize over. I usually research by reading every single interview that's ever been done with a subject in hopes that I might avoid repeating the same questions. I challenge myself to find that slightly different bit of information that adds to the discourse.

Jay Duplass: What hasn't been asked.

Mark Duplass: We appreciate that.

Jay Duplass: And we're noticing it.

Mark Duplass: During a press day it's difficult to stay inspired and try to answer questions and give some energy and love to it when it's the same question over and over again.

Guillén: I wonder whether Baghead works because it taps into a gestalt regarding a great fear about filmmaking—independent filmmaking in particular and filmmaking in general—a fear regarding the hopelessness of filmmaking due to the hurdles of financing and the pitfalls of distribution; even if you get the film made, what happens to it? Will it survive? What do you think? Will Baghead have a shelf life? Will it be around 20 years from now? Or is its popularity in that it expresses something essentially topical anchored to a specific time?

Jay Duplass: I never thought of that. For us, the horror elements of this movie and even the comedy—just like the road trip in The Puffy Chair—are just delivery devices for relationship movies. Hopefully, in our minds, what comes through and what stays with you is these people and how they're treating each other, how they resolve their difficulties and what they're going through. Hopefully, that will resonate beyond and be the thing that becomes why people come back to the movie.

Mark Duplass: There's a reason why three quarters of our movies are about relationships. That's what we love. We love the faces of the people. We even found with The Puffy Chair that—as much as that is a movie about people in their mid-20s—its core audience was people 40 and up who saw the movie in the theaters.

Guillén: Because, despite age, and despite maturity, certain themes persist. I'm in my mid-50s but I can still remember and relate to the behavior of the characters in Baghead. I remember when I acted like that. It's not like the film is for a specific age demographic. The honesty of the experience speaks to any age group. Can you talk a little bit about how you came up with the four types of characters in Baghead?

Mark Duplass: They are types. It's funny you should say that because there's a parallel between how Jay and I like to have a really strong plot in a movie but allow the plot to be shaggy and loose within the film. With characters it's nice to work with types and almost start with caricatures. From there we let the characters flesh themselves out loosely into fully developed people. We started Baghead out with basic archetypes. Hottie friend, chubby best friend, Matt and Chad, right there. Then young wanna-be Hollywood startlet and fading, never has-been starlet. So great, we got those archetypes there. Then, once you get these intense personalities that we cast in these roles, and they're friends of ours, people we know and trust, when you get deep into the improvisation they start bringing more personal elements to these roles.

Jay Duplass: We start looking for and pushing those places, looking for weird little details and actually forcing our actors to stop using the script and coming up with something way more specific and tragic or whatever it might be.

Mark Duplass: We're actually served on paper by starting with caricatures and stock types. We don't really set onto the paper how to add another shade to a character. All the shades, all of that comes out through personal things, the character our actors are bringing to the roles and to the set. That's where all that fleshing out comes.

Guillén: Though it doesn't really have the pace of a screwball comedy, Baghead does harbor the typology of the screwball comedy. You don't have to psychologize the characters to create them. The situations reveal them. One of my favorite lines was when Matt and Chad are having a heart to heart and Chad enviously praises Matt's hair. That was just about the point I was thinking, "God, Matt has great hair."

Jay Duplass: [Laughs] That's a line that Steve [Zissis, who plays Chad] came up with at that moment. It occurred to him—"You have Elvis hair, man"—and we were like, "Oh my God! It's great and so true." He was in the moment and he was looking at Ross [Partridge, who plays Matt] and thinking, "Goddamn, dude, you're perfect and it's pissing me off." Those are the kind of moments we live for, what we love to do. When he said that, Mark and I looked at each other and we were like, "Dead on! Perfect!"

Guillén: So to recap your methodology, you have a definite story you're wanting to tell but you film it documentary style in that you let your actors go. You tell them the story you want to tell….

Mark Duplass: We have a full script.

Guillén: But you're not insisting your actors deliver word for word dialogue?

Jay Duplass: No. The only thing we might do before we shoot—we rarely direct before the first take—but, the only thing we reinforce if any actors are confused is that everyone knows what their purpose is in that scene, whether they're flirting in a passive-aggressive way, or trying to get someone to look at them.

Mark Duplass: Simple things like "Woo him. Try to get him to write a movie with you. Get his attention." We give the actors very simple tasks.

Jay Duplass: We let them use their wiles.

Mark Duplass: They don't have to think about it. They know where the movie's headed. They rarely step out of bounds or do something incorrect for the character. They know the story and we've set simple archetype characters for them so they know how to behave. Jay and I are not doing a ton of corralling of the improvisation.

Guillén: You don't direct by micromanagement?

Mark Duplass: No, that's not happening.

Jay Duplass: If anything, sometimes a scene—for whatever reason; the way we've created it—can be a little boring.

Mark Duplass: Sometimes it will be an ill-conceived moment and then Jay and I will say, "Oh, we didn't realize but this scene doesn't work." So we'll switch it up and find something inspiring.

Guillén: The cabin games you had your characters play in trying to write the script, do you two work that way?

Mark Duplass: We don't; but, there's a variation. There's a book called Making A Good Script Great by Linda Seger, which we used in college and film school. She recommends writing scene ideas on note cards. We invented the machinations of passing the note cards around so we could get what we wanted out of the scene. So that scene is based on a truth but we fussed with it a bit.

Guillén: So you're describing Baghead as a relationship story that has horrific elements? In fact, some reviewers have qualified that the horror is that they're even trying to make a movie.

Mark Duplass: Yeah!

Guillén: But honestly, I found Baghead to be effectively scary in certain scenes.

Mark Duplass: It can play like that. It depends on the audience. One of the screenings at Sundance was wild scary.

Jay Duplass: People were screaming.

Mark Duplass: People were running out of the movie theater. And then last night we had a promo screening at USC during the late hours with college students who were more hip to the genre play and it played balls comedy to them. They were laughing their asses off the whole time. Who knows?

Guillén: I know you probably can't answer this; but, are you purposely keeping it vague as to whether or not Michelle's first glimpse of the man with a baghead is real or a dream?

Mark Duplass: We don't really talk about that too much. We have our vision of what the story is and—if we wanted to talk about it—it would be as to what it means to us. But there is some controversy about the nature of Michelle's first dream and what that means. We hope people are comfortable with that in a good way.

Jay Duplass: We're aware of the three or four possibilities of what the story could be; but, we're actually more interested in seeing how other people perceive it and how they reconstruct the story in their minds.

Mark Duplass: Hopefully, the controversy will encourage a second viewing.

Guillén: I realize that most people mistakenly think that The Puffy Chair was your first fillm, when in fact it was your third or your fourth?

Mark Duplass: We had made three short films before The Puffy Chair. We had tried to make—I would say—two and half features before The Puffy Chair. But they just weren't any good so we never showed them.

Guillén: So then you obviously had some kind of insight that made you approach filmmaking differently, resulting in The Puffy Chair, which did work, and from which you developed your creative legs. Can you identify what it was that changed your approach?

Mark Duplass: It was a lucky moment in 2002 when we made our first good short film This Is John. It was our first film that got accepted into Sundance. Literally, Jay and I were coming off the tail end of another one of our failed feature films. We were depressed and sitting on the couch. We didn't know why we were feeling this way but our instinct was, "We just need to pick up a camera and make something." We picked up our shitty little DV camera and we came up with this idea of a guy who's recording the personal greeting of his answering machine and struggling with it.

Jay Duplass: It was something that had actually happened to me a few months previously. I told Mark about it in a private conversation. We always have shared these private conversations about things that happen to us, things that happen to our friends, that are funny and totally tragic in a hilarious way. We never dreamed those experiences would be film worthy. Who would dream that a guy trying to perfect a personal greeting on his answering machine would fail to do so and would start crying and basically have a breakdown? Who would dream that would be film worthy let alone hugely successful as a short film? It was like an accident. We thought, "Let's stop thinking."

Guillén: That's what I'm trying to get at. Did you feel a need to relinquish control? Or to relinquish expectation of outcome?

Mark Duplass: It was not conscious on our part at the time of making This Is John. A lot of it was 20/20. A lot of it was—in that the movie did succeed and people liked it—we looked back to determine what was it that made the film work and how could we get that again? Once we deconstructed the process, we realized, "Oh. We cut out all the crew. We cut out all the bullshit. It was just Jay and me like when we were five and nine years old, together, focusing all of our energy on the acting and the creative, as opposed to, 'How good does this light look? Do we have the catering right?' " Most movies spend 90% of their time on the technical and 10% on their actors, and we came up with this ethic of reversing that number. We made sure that we gave our all to the performance and the story. That was a huge breakthrough for us. That was the moment.

Jay Duplass: Plus the fact that the whole movie cost $3, which was the price of a DV tape at the 7-11. Literally! It's insane.

Mark Duplass: You get caught up in propriety when you go to film school. Not even film school, just reading books. You think that the measure of your movie is about how professional you can be making that film. It takes a while to realize that inspiration comes in all sorts of strange ways and, for us, the downsizing of all the elements of filmmaking was an effort to get back to that pure place of being little kids where making movies was what tricked for us.

Guillén: What I'm hearing is that you got back to some genuine play and honest storytelling? With what I imagine is going to be the success of this film, are you still interested in more genre morphing?

Mark Duplass: I think so. We love genre.

Jay Duplass: For us it's always going to be a relationship movie disguised as a genre movie. I don't know if you can really even say that Baghead is a horror film; but, using genres and plot in general to keep a movie moving forward is a way for us to sneak in relationship issues and all the things we really care about.

Mark Duplass: Not that we're anything like The Big Lebowski, but we loved how that movie is a classic Philip Marlowe story with lots and lots of different ways of doing it. We love that feel of taking a genre and putting new spins on it. Even if Jay and I tried, there's no way we could make a non-relationship movie because the sets are open to interpretation and—when we're there—the interpretation is, "What's going on with these people? How are they behaving with each other?" That's what we love. We always end up focusing on that.

Guillén: Baghead appears to have directly developed out of your festival experience with The Puffy Chair. Do you get a lot of young filmmakers coming to you for advice and help?

Mark Duplass: Yes, yes.

Guillén: Does it feel weird to be such young filmmakers yourselves offering advice to other young filmmakers?

Mark Duplass: I don't feel weird about it. We're actually highly opinionated and pretty cocky when it comes to telling young filmmakers what to do. We're very opinionated about what you should be doing as a young filmmaker. We spell it out pretty straight and are happy to talk to anybody who wants to listen. We've made so many mistakes.

Jay Duplass: Our m.o. is to try to prevent young filmmakers from torturing themselves for the 10 years that we tortured ourselves before we came up with anything worthwhile. Our basic concept is that making movies is really hard, it's a very complex art, so afford yourself the opportunity to fuck up and fix it and try again. Everyone has this misconception that Soderbergh's first movie was Sex, Lies & Videotape, and it wasn't. If you make your first movie and it's great, you got lucky and you got another thing coming. I can guarantee you the second or third movie is going to be a giant failure and you're not going to know what to do with yourself.

Guillén: I was reading somewhere that you guys claim you have no ideas. Is that true? Do you have any ideas about what you want to work on next?

Mark Duplass: I'm not sure when we said that. It had to have been at a different time because we're actually full of too many ideas at the moment. We have quite a few scripts that are prewritten and some of them are movies we're making inside of the studio system, some of them are movies that we'll make outside of the studio system on our own, so this is a good time for us creatively. We've discovered that there's a lot of stuff that is exciting to us. Our confidence level is getting higher in terms of knowing that—once we get on the set—as long as we have a nicely structured story, and if we stay honest with ourselves, we'll probably make a pretty good movie.

Guillén: It's my understanding that at one juncture you were offered a lot more money to make Baghead and you decided against it?

Mark Duplass: There was a studio that offered us a bigger budget to do it. But our reasons for not accepting that are not so simple. We considered it for a while but it wasn't going to be on our terms. It was going to be with some script changes and we would have lost casting control. We would have probably had to put famous people into it who would be playing actors who weren't famous, which would have been totally weird. Try to picture Tom Cruise trying to sneak into a film festival after party. I don't think anyone would buy it. We like the anonymity of these things and Baghead in particular could be done cheaply, the sensibility would be supported by its being done cheaply, all the things were in line to do this cheaply. Not every movie should be done like this and we don't encourage anyone who wants to make a Terrence Mallick movie with an HD camera. Likewise, there are some movies we would like to make that will require bigger budgets and we won't be able to do them on our own dime.

Guillén: Is something like that coming up? Rumor has it you have a deal with Universal?

Mark Duplass: We do have deals with big studios to do big budget films; but, they move slower. They're all in the process of development. Some of them have their casts and we're waiting for a shooting schedule or are waiting for strikes to end, or whatever. Some of them we're still getting notes from the studio heads. Our m.o. for now is to have some faith in the studio system, it hasn't totally let us down yet by any means, and we're going to try to direct a movie within the studio system and see how it goes; but, if that movie takes three or four years to come together, then we'll keep going off and making little Bagheads in the down time. We really believe in staying active, making movies, and not waiting around forever to get your movie made. You can get really depressed doing that.

Guillén: You mentioned that you would like to help younger filmmakers avoid the 10 years of torture that you went through; but, do you honestly feel that torture can be avoided?

Mark Duplass: No. [Laughs.] But I think it can be modified. How painful your failures are can be modified by following some smarter rules. We spent a little too much money on our first films, which creates such a hard and sharp fall that it takes more energy to get yourself back on your feet. Now you can make little cheap digital failures and those are great because with just $5 and a weekend with my friend I can learn something.

Jay Duplass: You're going to have failures; but, what we want people to avoid and what happens a lot, is the common phenomenon of people who get their script together and then spend four to five years raising roughly a half a million, $750,000. They raise that money and they've rewritten the script along the way because maybe they're changing, or maybe different actors will come in and want things to be different, or investors will come in and they'll want things to be different, and they get the movie together; but, it's five years later and they don't care about the movie anymore. They're disconnected. They're done with it. They're not a director anymore because they stopped making films. They're fundraisers. If they do make the movie, it's boring, mediocre, uninspired or just bad, whatever it is, and then they're crushed and they will never recover. It's so tragic to see it happen. Our movies didn't cost nearly that much—the ones that we failed with—but, that's the main thing we want to see people avoid.

Mark Duplass: Our advice is to keep making cheap shorts. They'll be bad probably but then they'll get good and—once you've made a couple of good shorts that have received some festival attention and gotten around—then think about making a feature.

Jay Duplass: You have the opportunity to see your work play with an audience and see how the audience responds to it. You'll know when an audience loves your movie. You can't not know. The way they emote during a screening or how they want more during a Q&A, it's almost like you have to engage in that relationship with an audience and a lot of young filmmakers want to come out, make a feature, and bust it wide open; but, it's a lot more complex than that.

Guillén: That being said about the necessary feedback of audiences, can you tell the difference between—let's say—your American audiences and your European audiences? Do "mumblecore" concerns extend past an American audience?

Mark Duplass: They're more suited to English-speaking audiences.

Jay Duplass: There's a lot of passive-aggression in our movies. People are working each other.

Mark Duplass: And often the dynamics of the English language and the specificity of a word they use with each other makes a big difference. It's not as often translatable. But we haven't sat with that many international audiences, though English-speaking Germans get our movies.

Jay Duplass: I would say our movies on an average play better in Britain than here in the States.

Mark Duplass: Because they're so smart.

Guillén: [Laughs.] Your characters are working each other; but, another aspect I truly admired in Baghead is that there is, nonetheless, real loyalty among the characters and, by story's end, real love.

Mark Duplass: Thanks. That's great. That's something we really couldn't force. That came out in our actors' abilities to enhance their characters. Ross and Steve grew to love each other and what they were doing in that movie is very specific to how the movie went. It could have gone different ways. We would have been fine with other characters falling in love with each other. We would have gone with that too. We go with what they're giving us.

Jay Duplass: That being said, that's how we build our sets. Everyone on our sets is either related to us or a good friend or a good person that we know is going to be open to human behavior.

Cross-published on Twitch.