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One of last year's big success stories at Sundance was "Humpday," starring Mark Duplass. He's also one-half of the filmmaking team who made the micro-budget charmer "The Puffy Chair" and the sly mumblecore/horror riff called "Baghead" along with his brother Jay.
I'm not much for the films that are loosely described as "mumblecore." I think the truth is, though, that a label like that is often something that's created to try and tie together filmmakers who actually have nothing in common. I think calling the work of the Duplass Brothers mumblecore is reductive and confining. I think they're making low-budget independent films, and they don't need to be labeled any more than that.
I was talking to Josh Leonard, Mark's co-star in "Humpday," when I saw him on the set of "Sherlock Holmes," and he spoke with admiration about the way the Duplass Brothers work. This was before "Humpday" was on anyone's radar, back in November of 2008, and Leonard was still pinning down the details of his own directorial debut. It was obvious as he spoke that he had nothing but admiration for the way the Duplass Brothers were maintaining a sense of independence even as they took their first step forward with a studio as a partner. It is rare that a filmmaker who comes out of such a deeply independent scene manages to find a way to successfully cross over into the studio system without compromising who they are or what they make, but Leonard seemed to feel like the Duplass Brothers had done just that, and early word on this one indicates that they've pulled it off.
Here's the official synopsis from the Sundance press release earlier today:
Untitled Duplass Brothers Project / USA (Directors and screenwriters: Jay Duplass and Mark Duplass) A recently divorced guy meets a new lady. Then he meets her son who is, well...interesting. Cast: John C. Reilly, Marisa Tomei,Jonah Hill, Catherine Keener. World Premiere
Very vague. One person close to the film told me that the film's unofficial title could be "Please Don't F**k My Mother," which makes me snort from laughing. Especially when Jonah Hill is the son, John C. Reilly is the dude, and Marisa Tomei is the mom. She's more beautiful right now than she's ever been, and Reilly and Hill are bound to click as comic personalities. And with this being a tiny personal film and not some high-concept studio comedy, I have hopes this is something really special.
And now... we've got the first photo from it for you:
Is it really just like six weeks till Sundance? That's crazy. Can't wait, and I'm sure we'll have word on this one and many others for you once the fest gets underway January 21st, 2010.
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