Mark and Jay Duplass have been steadily rising in the world of film for the last decade thanks to indie hits like The Puffy Chair, Jeff, Who Lives at Home, and more. Now, the brothers have a new production deal with Netflix, a hit HBO series in Togetherness, and a seemingly endless string of upcoming projects.
Like so many of their indie movie forebears, the Duplasses are hitting the mainstream, and with that comes all manner of opportunities from studios looking to capitalize on rising stars. Some of those opportunities are attract to Mark and Jay Duplass and their way of working. Others…aren’t. Specifically, the world of superhero cinema.
Speaking at the Writers Guild of America recently, the brothers were asked if either Marvel Studios or Warner Bros. (the studio that produces films based on DC Comics) had approached them to work on any projects in their dueling superhero movie universes. Marvel in particular has had great success so far working with directors that come from the indie film and TV world (like Guardians of the Galaxy’s James Gunn and Captain America: The Winter Soldier’s Joe and Anthony Russo), and Duplass collaborator Colin Trevorrow (they produced his 2012 time travel comedy Safety Not Guaranteed) transitioned this year from indie success to blockbusters with the fantastically successful Jurassic World, so it makes sense that some studio exec somewhere would at least want to try to apply the Duplass sensibility to a franchise. The brothers weren’t into it, though.
“We said no,” Mark said. “The thing that happens when you sign on to a $180 million movie is that the movie is not a movie. It’s a commodity. We’re not in that business.”
The brothers did not elaborate on which studio approached them, or what property they had a chance to work on, but Jay Duplass did joke about how their particular mumblecore dynamic doesn’t really fit the format anyway.
“It’s very easy to blow people’s minds in Hollywood. Just say no. Now, if it were Batman and Robin as a 98 percent relationship drama in the Bat Cave… I would bet that’s 12,000 people’s favorite movie.”
So, the Duplass Brothers will – probably wisely – keep doing their thing, and the superhero world will have to wait for its Mumblecore Masterpiece until another filmmaker comes along.