VOD Spotlight: Mark & Jay Duplass (THE DO-DECA PENTATHLON)June 26, 2012

VOD Spotlight: Mark & Jay Duplass (THE DO-DECA PENTATHLON)

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment

On Demand Weekly's Editor-in-Chief, Britt Bensen spoke with Mark and Jay Duplass about their new movie, THE DO-DECA PENTATHLON  (Fox Searchlight Pictures and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment), on demand today!


On Demand Weekly (ODW): This movie is a must see for brothers. I have a brother who I compete against in pool, H-O-R-S-E, etc.  Are there events or challenges you two compete against each other?

Mark Duplass (MD): We’re most closely matched in Ping Pong. No matter how in shape or out of shape we are over the years, we’re still 50/50 at the table every time we show up. It’s part of the magic. It’s really the truth.



ODW: What events didn’t make THE DO-DECA PENTATHLON list you wish could have?
The film is based on two brothers we grew up with. One of them is the basketball Pop-A-Shot guru of all time. We would have loved to have shown that, but nobody can do Pop-A-Shot like the real brother and we would have done him a disservice to the man, to the integrity of the sport itself. So we had to keep it out of the film.

Jay Duplass (JD): We would have violated a sacred rule. A sacred law of the universe.


Jay Duplass
Jay Duplass

ODW: Have you seen the Pop-A-Shot guy on Jimmy Kimmel?

MD: I’m going to Google Jimmy Kimmel Pop-A-Shot after this.


Mark Duplass
Mark Duplass

ODW: Just how high was the basketball rim Steve Zissis dunked on in the movie and was his one-on-nobody performance scripted or improvised?
We lowered the rim, but we didn’t measure it. I’m going to say 7 - 8 feet.

JD: We actually didn’t lower them. Both of the goals he plays on were just children’s goals. That moment where Steve reverse dunks twice in a row, where he’s trying to figure out, we WERE trying to figure it out, was an improvised moment.

ODW: So his one-on-nobody moment was improvised? It appeared the other actors in the scene were staring at him like: ‘what just happened’?
It’s a testament to the process of allowing your actors to improvise, you can get these wonderful moments and reactions where people are genuinely surprised.

ODW: I think it worked.

ODW: In SF, a group of friends had an annual Urban Decathlon which included Punt Pass & Kick and the murderous Lyon Street steps.
It’s not a good day if someone doesn’t pull a hamstring.


Mark Kelly, Steve Zissis / THE DO-DECA-PENTATHLON (Fox)

ODW: Or a mild heart attack. Why is now the time for THE DO-DECA PENTATHLON?
It was the third film we shot after BAGHEAD. When we finished shooting, we were lucky enough to get green lit for our first studio feature, CYRUS. We put DO-DECA on the shelf. Then we were lucky enough to be green lit for JEFF WHO LIVES AT HOME back-to-back. As we were finishing JEFF, DO-DECA was in the back of our minds and super close to our hearts. In a weird way, we’re returning back to back to our older form.

It’s exciting to finish and release a film now in our lives where we’re in a different position than 3 years ago.

ODW: You’re on a serious run since 2005 with PUFFY CHAIR , BAGHEAD, CYRUS, JEFF WHO LIVES AT HOME and now THE DO-DECA PENTATHLON. Were these made in any particular order in mind? 

MD: They were all written at different times. PUFFY CHAIR was first and then THE DO-DECA PENTATHLON, which was initially pegged to be a big studio movie. Then we wrote and quickly made BAGHEAD and around the same time we wrote JEFF WHO LIVES AT HOME. We were developing CYRUS at (FOX) Searchlight and made that there. JEFF was already written, we were able to make that. And we circled back and finished the editing of DO-DECA.

ODW: JEFF WHO LIVES AT HOME had a theatrical run and was released on demand last week. THE DO-DECA-PENTATHLON has a pre-theatrical VOD release on June 26 and a theatrical release in select markets on July 6. Tell me what the different VOD distribution strategies mean to you as filmmakers.
To speak super candidly, we really believer films without movie stars are very rarely doing phenomenal business in movie theaters. There are a couple of cities that will go see those movies in theaters and we are releasing DO-DECA in theaters in those cities. That’s a great way to see the movie.

That being said, when we release films limited, as we have done with our last 4 films, all we hear on twitter is ‘I can’t see the movie near me. I’m in Nebraska. What’s going on?’

We thought this was the perfect movie to experiment with pre-theatrical. (DO-DECA) is a mainstream concept. It’s a very relatable film for brothers. We thought, if we’re going to experiment with a new distribution model (with Fox Home Video and Red Flag), this was the perfect movie to do it.



JEFF WHO LIVES AT HOME just came out (on demand), is getting this great awareness on VOD platforms. We’d like those people who are seeing that movie and liked it to see DO-DECA as well.

ODW: Filmmakers and the general public hear about theatrical box office by the weekend, how do you as filmmakers hear about VOD results?
We pound the distributor. They don’t like to give you numbers because the VOD business is the Wild West right now and everybody is trying to get a handle on it. People are rwal secretive about their information and we completely understand.

This will be our first time experimenting with it, so we’re going to ask and ask and hopefully they’ll give it to us.


Steve Zissis, Mark Kelly / THE DO-DECA-PENTATHLON (Fox)

ODW: We think the VOD component of the film industry should be more transparent.
We agree.

ODW: If you can find out about box office results within 24 hours, if not to the hour, it’s kind of ironic you can’t find out about “on demand” results at all.
It’s totally computerized, so it should available up to the second.



ODW: Do you use VOD at home and if so, what are some recent movies & TV series you have watched?
I use the proverbial shit out of VOD at home because I have 2 kids. The movies I really want to see in theaters I’ve missed, like MELANCHOLIA, ANOTHER EARTH, THE WARRIOR and THE GREY. It’s perfect for me.


JD: I’m in the same situation as Mark, where I also have two kids. My wife and I recently realized we weren’t watching any of the cable. When were, we weren’t enjoying it very much. We were mostly annoyed. We actually got rid of our cable service, got an Apple TV and started paying for things individually when we wanted them, as opposed to paying overall.

It’s not only been more financially efficient, it makes us be more careful and more curated about what we want to see and not we end up not lagging in front of the TV. It’s been a cool transition for us.

ODW: You told The New York Times your ‘goal is to find movie stars and have them get weird with you’. Who do you want to get weird with next?
Ohhh, there are so many of them. We really love Richard Jenkins. I had a chance to work with him in Larry Kasdan’s last movie (DARLING COMPANION)... 


We talk about Robert Downey Jr. all the time. We think he might be up for getting weird.

JD: Oh, absolutely. Of course. Meryl Streep would be the weirdest of them all.

MD: Meryl, are you weird? Please, come play with us.

JD: You got to be weird to be that good.

ODW: Have you considered challenging other real-life brothers like the Coen’s or Wilson’s in physical feats of strength?
It would not be fair. They would lose too quickly. We like their movies and we don’t want them to die.


Steve Zissis, Mark Kelly / THE DO-DECA-PENTATHLON (Fox)


JD: I have thought about the Coen brothers competing in their own Do-Deca Pentathlon. I would pay a lot of money to see that.


ODW: Let’s get it on demand.



- Britt Bensen

Britt is the Editor-in-Chief and Co-founder of On Demand Weekly. He is the former head of Affiliate Marketing and VOD for Sundance Channel. Prior to Sundance Channel, Britt worked for Miramax Films and BMI. He also on the Advisory Board of the Palo Alto Intl Film Festival.


THE DO-DECA PENTATLON is currently available on demand.


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