Jay Duplass

Jay Duplass Headshot

Director • Actor • Producer

Birth Date: March 7, 1973

Age: 50 years old

Birth Place: New Orleans, Louisiana

Siblings: Mark Duplass

Filmmaker Jay Duplass made his cinematic mark letting everyday characters tell simple stories. Renowned as one of the progenitors of the movement known as "mumblecore," Duplass and his brother (and regular collaborator) Mark were among the first to take advantage of faster and vastly less expensive digital filmmaking technology. With Jay frequently behind the camera and Mark acting, they employed the new tools to make specific and personal character pieces with little or no crew. In spite (or because) of their limited production value, the films won a significant niche audience for Duplass, which he parlayed into work in more traditional studio and TV fare, while still managing to find time for the indies that gave him his start.

Born March 7, 1973 in New Orleans, LA, Duplass majored in Psychology at the University of Texas and was planning a career in academia until his love of movies got the better of him. Inspired by Austin-based filmmakers Robert Rodriguez and Richard Linklater, the Duplass brothers tried for years to make a "good" low budget short films until they realized that their personal stories and the actual events in their day to day lives were the ones that they enjoyed telling the most. Their short film, "This Is John," was based on Jay's soul-crushing experience trying to record an outgoing message on his answering machine. Shot in one documentary-style 20-minute take, the seven-minute finished film was embraced by the Sundance Film Festival and was the first evidence that filmmaking could be their career.

After a couple more short films (including "Scrapple" (2004) and "The Intervention" (2005)), they collaborated on their first feature, 2005's "The Puffy Chair," with Jay directing, Mark acting, and both brothers writing. Making the film with available materials ($15,000 of their parents' money, Mark's touring van, and friends playing lead characters), they decided on a road movie about a pair of brothers bringing a duplicate of the old family recliner back to their parent's house. The script again centered on the relationships and dynamics between the actors -- Mark Duplass and Rhett Wilkins as the brothers, and Kathryn Aselton (Mark's actual girlfriend) as Mark's girlfriend -- and left plenty of room for improvisation. The story itself is set up as a bunch of short films strung together over the course of the trip. The film premiered at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, won the audience award at SXSW the same year, and was given a limited release by Roadside Attractions in 2006.

The exposure and relative success of "The Puffy Chair" gave the brothers the opportunity to participate in studio fare, but they opted instead to stick with what got them there. The result was "Baghead," a mumblecore film based in horror film conventions. This time they used their own money and shot over three weeks outside Austin, TX. The film premiered at Sundance in 2008 and was released domestically the same year by Sony Classics. Although "Baghead" wasn't as financially successful as "The Puffy Chair," the brother's audience continued to grow, and they decided it was time to test the studio waters. In 2010, Fox Searchlight released "Cyrus." The film could have been a low budget Duplass brothers movie (character driven, limited locations and action), but this time, instead of Mark and their friends, the cast was headed by Hollywood veterans John C. Reilly, Jonah Hill, and Marisa Tomei, and the filmmakers had the time and means to add production value missing from their lower budget work. The film was a critical success and the major studio release insured that the film would be their highest grossing up to that time. Also in 2010, Jay and Mark began to use their knowledge and connections to produce films created by others. "Lovers of Hate," written and directed by character actor David Poyser, was the first of these. It premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for the John Casavetes Award (the award for the best film under $500,000) at the 2011 Independent Spirit Awards. Paramount Vantage took on their next directorial effort, "Jeff, Who Lives At Home" (2011). The film, starring Jason Segal, Ed Helms, and Susan Sarandon, was the first time the brothers felt they had a film that truly needed a multi-million dollar budget and studio resources. Although this movie (like their low budget films) is a character-based dramedy, it utilizes elements more frequently found in studio films (the trials and tribulations of a Porsche play a role). "The Do-Deca-Pentathalon" (2012) was a throwback for the brothers. Filmed in 2008, they became so busy with "Cyrus," then "Jeff, Who Lives At Home," that they didn't have time to finish the film for four years. With no stars and a story following a pair of ultra-competitive brothers who decide to finish a competition they began in high school, it was classic Duplass brothers: a personal story that incorporated actual events from their own lives. Once "The Do-Deca-Pentathalon" was released, the brothers took a break from making their own films in order to help produce more films for other creators. Mark's acting career gained momentum, and Jay found himself in front of the camera for an arc (co-starring with his brother) on "The Mindy Project" (Fox/Hulu, 2012-). The pair also stepped into the world of TV, writing and directing (with Mark also acting) the series "Togetherness" for HBO. Jay next appeared on camera in the critically-acclaimed comedy-drama "Transparent" (Amazon 2014- ).

Credits

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Drought

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2020

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The Ride

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StumptownStream

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2019

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Phil

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Duck ButterStream

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Prospect

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Rainbow Time

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2016

The Late Show With Stephen ColbertStream

Guest
Talk
2015

The Late Late Show With James CordenStream

Guest
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2015

TogethernessStream

Creator
Series
2015
90%

The Bronze

Executive Producer
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2015

TangerineStream

Executive Producer
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2015
96%

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2015

Manson Family Vacation

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Nick
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2015

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2015

Variety Studio: Actors on Actors

Guest
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2014

TransparentStream

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Josh Pfefferman
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2014
91%

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2014

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The Mindy ProjectStream

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Maurice

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CyrusStream

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Kevin

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Baghead

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Baghead

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2008

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The Puffy Chair

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The Intervention

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