Brothers Jay and Mark Duplass (pictured above) have been making movies for a long time. After spending a ton of money and producing unsatisfying content, the Duplass boys were about to give up the dream and settle down into a nice corporate job. That is, until the night Mark decided they were not going to leave their apartment without making another film. For three dollars (cost of tape) and no screenplay, Jay used his parents' home video camera to capture Mark playing a character who can't seem to record a message for his answering machine. One 20-minute take later and the boys had completed their film. They called it, This is John. Little did they know, but this three-dollar short would define their careers.
All Josh (Mark Duplass) wanted to do was pick up the puffy chair he bought off e-bay and deliver it to his father for the old man's birthday. Throw in a volatile girlfriend (Kathryn Aselton), a bizarre brother (Rhett Wilkins) and a wacky road-trip and you have the premise for one of this summer's funniest films -- The Puffy Chair. Although The Puffy Chair has already been released in several markets, the film opens for the first time in New York City this Friday at the Angelika Film Center. The other night, I attended a screening of The Puffy Chair, hosted by those fabulous folks over at The L Magazine. Afterwards, I had a chance to sit down with the film's director, Jay Duplass, and pick his brain over a few pints of beer. While it was hard to ignore the awfully loud folks enjoying "Erotic Poetry Night" next door, Jay and I couldn't help but immerse ourselves in a conversation about his films, his career and his exciting future ...
Cinematical: Okay, so why The Puffy Chair? Where did the film come from?
Jay Duplass: If you knew our mom, you would know that a giant lay-z-boy would never be allowed in our household. We always dreamed about having lay-z-boys, but she never allowed it. My grandfather did have a sofa in the 80's and he had a phone built into it. So, he would call you just to tell you he was calling from the sofa. But the reality is [the film] was not about the chair, it was more about making a relationship movie. Needing a format and a venue in order to carry that relationship out. And that was, like, a road trip where [the main character] was delivering something to his father and we thought, the more absurd, the better. Ya know, it's really not about this chair, it's more about his relationship with this girl and them being at that point in their relationship where, ya know, it's sh*t or get off the pot time -- like we either need to get married or break up. We've come this far, we should know by now. And, I mean, for us -- my brother and I are co-creators -- and, ya know, we just think it's hilarious and tragic at the same time that you can be in a relationship and, one day, you're like, "This is it! This is the one. This is it!" And the next day you're like, "Who is this alien that is living with me? I need to get the f*ck out."