Mark Duplass on Prolific Acting Career: “It’s so hard for me to say no. I can’t turn down fruit because there was once a time when there was no fruit”


Actor Mark Duplass has a multitude of projects coming up in the next few months. Although he has been unknown to the masses previously, his new films are sure to get people to start paying attention.  His upcoming films include: Darling Companion, Safety Not Guaranteed, Your Sister’s Sister, and People Like Us.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Duplass spoke about his position as a director, producer, writer, and actor in the indie film community.

He said, “I’m not a struggling artist anymore.  I can take my money and pay for my own movies and other people’s movies.  But it’s also, like, my closet is still full of hoodies.  So I’m trying to figure out who I am, and what this is.  It’s an interesting moment.”

Duplass first broke out on the scene with his film The Puffy Chair, which debuted at Sundance in 2005.  His connection to the festival remains today.  “I get offered pretty much every movie that’s being made for under $100,000, because people believe I will get the movie into Sundance.  I get about 50 of those a week.”

But Duplass doesn’t need to rely on other people’s handouts anymore, even if some of that mentality remains.  “Right now, I’m doing a studio writing job to pay my mortgage, I have two kids, and there’s three acting projects I want to do,” he said. “It’s so hard for me to say no.  I feel like I grew up in the Depression and I can’t turn down fruit because there was once a time when there was no fruit.”

The filmmaker/actor recognizes that his career is not a typical one by Hollywood standards, saying that “even if I’m the romantic lead in a movie, I’m not Josh Duhamel.  I get offered small-to-medium sized roles in big movies or things that people have seen me do before—and that persona is hard to define, but I call them hero-adjacent protagonists.  There’s a sense of ‘This guy feels a lot like me, but he’s not a matinee idol.’”

Part of Duplass’ success is due to the working relationship he has with his brother, Jay.  They collaborate on most projects together, including co-directing Jeff, Who Lives at Home (which came out in March) and July’s The Do-Deca-Pentathalon.  He said, “The long-standing joke with us that’s true is that left to my own devices, I would probably make 10 mediocre films a year, and Jay on his own would make 80% of the perfect film but never finish it over his whole life.  And somehow, our combined energy has allowed us to do this check-and-balance thing.  My acting is like our little affairs that keep our marriage healthy.”

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