Filmmaker Jay Duplass channeled the close relationship he shares with brother, co-writer and co-director, Mark, into the sweet but insular relationship the 21-year-old title character of their film CYRUS shares with his mother. As part of the Mumblecore movement, their particular brand of indy filmmaking, their goal is to capture the an emotional immediacy and honesty that tightly scripted films can’t touch. Theirs is an instinctive approach to filmmaking that requires their actors to improvise scenes with specific goals, but not specific dialogue, as their guide. In the interview on June 22, 2010, Duplass discusses his relationship with his brother, then and now, ceding control of a film to the actors, the thin line between humor and terror, and why the brothers resisted doing a studio film for so long.
CYRUS is a bitingly funny, movingly honest story of flexible boundaries and of the triangle that forms between two men over one woman. The woman is Molly, played by Marisa Tomei. The men are John, played by John C. Reilly, a 40-something film editor still not quite over his divorce seven years ago, and the eponymous Cyrus, played by Jonah Hill, Molly’s 21-year-old son who is not ready to let mom have a life separate from him. The film co-stars Catherine Keener as John’s marginally co-dependent ex-wife Jamie and Matt Walsh as her not at all co-dependent husband-to-be. CYRUS was written and directed by Jay and Mark Duplass, who brought us both THE PUFFY CHAIR and the deeply terrifying BAGHEAD.