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Mark Duplass Braves “Humpday”

Mark Duplass Braves “Humpday” (photo)

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When writer/director Lynn Shelton first asked Mark Duplass to star in a movie about two straight buddies who drunkenly challenge one another to make an amateur porno together (then in the sober light of day refuse to back down), he was unconvinced: “When I heard that pitch, I was like, ‘I don’t think this movie is going to work.” Shelton eventually won him over, and Duplass came to believe his uncertainty about the premise enhanced the finished film. “And we encourage that in our audience members,” he adds. “If you’re skeptical about how this can work, come see the movie. We were really skeptical and kept the reality of human interaction under the microscope the whole time.”

Duplass is best known for his work with his brother Jay, as half of the writing/directing/producing team behind the low-budget (some might say mumblecore) indies “The Puffy Chair” and “Baghead.” He started appearing in his own films out of economic necessity, but those roles have spawned a thriving side career acting in other directors’ projects. His performance in Shelton’s “Humpday,” a unique and moving twist on the classic buddy comedy, may be his best yet: low-key but heartfelt, funny without being jokey and, despite his early reservations, totally believable.

I spoke with Duplass at the offices of “Humpday” distributor Magnolia Pictures, in a conference room with a table, some chairs, and a “Humpday” poster featuring a picture of Duplass and co-star Joshua Leonard stripped to the waist. Asked about the image, Duplass nonchalantly replied, “The post-high school athlete body is funny.”

I read that some of the takes in “Humpday” were around 40 minutes long. Is that right?

Some of the takes were 50 minutes to an hour. Most were shorter than that. Take the scene where Andrew first comes in and we sit and have our conversation in the basement — those were 20-minute takes. Then Lynn and Nat Sanders, the editor, sift through and find the good stuff.

And you’re not going over the same things? It’s one long conversation?

Occasionally, it’ll come back to certain similar things. But they’re usually long conversations, and then we say “Okay, let’s do that again, just shorter.” And then Lynn will maybe pick some her favorite things that she liked and we’ll try to hit those.

Do you like working that way?

I love it. That conversation between Ben and Andrew would normally take 40 minutes. You have to condense it down to four or five for cinema, but it’s nice to do it for real once and feel what it is. In essence, you’re living as the characters for a moment. I don’t direct my actors that way in my own movies, but I really like doing it as an actor.

07062009_Humpday1.jpgWith “The Hurt Locker” coming out, I just rewatched “Point Break.” And there a few times in that movie where Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze look like they want to kiss.

Mm-hmm.

Do you think the issues about masculinity and sexuality addressed in “Humpday” are the subtext of a lot of buddy movies?

I think the “Point Break” stuff is absolutely accidental and more about those guys taking themselves very seriously, which also happens to look like the “I want to fuck you” face. But I do think there’s something in the zeitgeist now about sensitive dude interaction. Now, it’s socially applauded for a man to be sensitive with his friends. I don’t know why that is, [but] there’s definitely something about the confusion of how to express the nature of that intimacy in this movie.

Ben and Andrew have a very complex relationship. They were those kids in college who were a bundle of dreams and ideals together. They were going to conquer the world. So no matter where they’ve gone in their lives, whenever they see each other, they’re going to remember that they’re no longer as idealistic as they were then. There’s a desire to be with each other because they want to feel some sense of that. All that weird stuff gets jumbled up and somehow parlays itself into this completely ridiculous idea that they will have sex with each other on film.

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Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.

via GIPHY

Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

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IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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