My wife is a huge fan of certain Mark Duplass. And you probably don’t even know who he is. Or at least, not by name. By face, much more likely. Duplass has what I could easily describe as a face full of character – one that hints at sinister, cynicism, wit, an ingenuity, a childlike joy, perhaps even a distinct unpredictability.
You might well know Duplass, who has also written and directed, from television. The League, The Mindy Project, not forgetting Togetherness, created with his brother, Jay (the siblings have their own production company). My wife also recently introduced me to Mark Duplass the musician.
I admit, I discovered the actor a little later than he was writing and producing his own material. His face was familiar to me in 2012’s Safety Not Guaranteed, playing an apparent odd-bod fellow that seemed to be right up his street. And the film works all the better for his mysterious performance. My wife, who you really ought to be following on Letterboxd if you are not already, said “As cheerfully try-hard this flick turned out to be, I’d still happily watch Duplass doing his taxes.”
Duplass turned up twice in the same film in 2014, with The One I Love. As did his co-star Elisabeth Moss. The film sets up as a quaint drama of a couple taking a weekend away to rekindle some fires in their relationship. However, they both come face-to-face with other versions of themselves. Duplass is memorably impressive in his depiction of a man genuinely baffled by this turn of events.
Duplass showed up again, when the wife and I embarked on our annual Halloween month film-fest, last year. The actor is a real creep. No, I mean it, the title of the film is Creep (2014), and it does exactly what it says on the box. Taking the camera footage, middle of nowhere horror components, and adding in truly eerie sentiments – including a surprisingly unsettling dance in a werewolf mask named Peachfuzz. The sequel, Creep 2 (2017), was equally fresh on the spooky stakes.
My wife commenting: “I had no idea where we were going with this. But I ended up loving both the journey and the destination. Not that this should come as a surprise considering the people involved in this production. Now I demand a third installment. And make it fast.”. A third is on its way, you’ll be glad to know.
First in 2005 with Humpday, and then in 2011 with Your Sister’s Sister (2011), Duplass starred in two very different films with quirky relationship-based plot, from Lynn Shelton. Both films excellent in feeding its audience with relevent humor, as well as deciphering the dynamics of couples, siblings, and friends.
On Humpday, the wife said: “Interesting in terms of studying the way we self-steer, thrusting options, making pointed arguments that are often detached from reality, solely because subconsciously we desperately want or don’t want to do something, trying to convince the world by first convincing ourselves. Duplass is, as always, an effortless pleasure to watch.”
And before I throw the streaming links at you so that you can get cracking with your Duplassathon, we have to shout out to Blue Jay, Alex Lehmann’s 2016 debut. Perfectly poised little drama, with luminous chemistry between Duplass and Sarah Paulson. The wife simply adored it, “Know what? I’m not going to go into any kind of analysis. Just do yourselves a favor and watch this transcending piece of subepidermal beauty as soon as you possibly can.” Duplass is working with Lehmann again as we speak.
Without further ado, go see for yourself if Mark Duplass floats your boat with these 8 tantalizers: