The Buddy System
By Dustin Fitzharris
Mark, what made you think of asking Josh to play your best friend?
Duplass: Have you seen his picture?
Duplass: Okay. Why do you have to ask? We were friends -- not super close yet -- but there was a certain element to who I wanted to play Andrew. Josh and I can talk emotions and feelings with all the comfort and ease of old friends. At the same time we are very much the Type A, alpha male. We're aggressive and competitive, and that is what this story called for.
When the public first hears the premise of this film, what do you think their initial thought will be?
Duplass: I hope audiences approach it the way Josh, Lynn, and I did. There was a healthy dose of skepticism to know whether this idea was realistic or not. Would these two straight guys actually go through with this? We didn't want to make a [film] farce or spoof. This is a movie about two kind of lost dudes. It's funny. It's touching, and we hope people can follow these characters. Hopefully, straight guys will be able to say, 'Oh my god, I can see how I could get myself into this if I was in their shoes.'
There have been some discussions on various blogs that this film is homophobic and reinforces stereotypes. How do you respond to that?
Duplass: This film is not about sexual politics. This is a film about two friends who are lost and feel that they were at the best versions of themselves when they were in college together. That's when the whole world was ahead of them, and they were idealistic. When they see each other again they remember who they used to be, and it drives them crazy because they are not who they want to be now. That makes them competitive, desperate, and hilarious to watch. In terms of homophobia, I can completely understand how someone can read a one-line teaser from this film and be skeptical. You should be, because it's a sensitive subject, and we welcome anyone to go see this film and find anything in it that in any way reinforces stereotypes.
Leonard: I would also add that these guys are way too caught up in their own shit to ever turn around and judge someone else.
What reactions have you received from people who've seen the film?
Duplass: We had a great response from an older gentleman who I would say was very conservative. He said, 'This is the first time I've really understood that homosexuality is not a choice. These guys are trying so hard and they want to try this thing together so much, but they just can't get over the nature of themselves and who they are.'
Why do you think there is a double standard in society in terms of seeing two women having sex together as opposed to two men?
Duplass: This is something I hesitate to answer -- for Out.com. But my hypothesis is that I think the straight guy is still suffering residuals of the John Wayne, two-dimensional kind of cardboard cutout of an ideal man. That's something to some extent we all grew up with. Maybe less so now than what our parents grew up with. Society's idea of what a straight man is supposed to be like is based on a lot of old ideas that I think we are just starting to shake off.
Leonard: I agree that there is a double standard. I know I've had girlfriends in the past who went out and made out with other girls while we were out and there was no jealousy at all. Whether or not it titillated me or not depended upon how cut the other girl was! But if she made out with another guy, I'd be really upset.
But what do you think about the physical sense of what you called 'dude on dude' action, Mark?
Duplass: There is something really different about female sexuality than there is about male sexuality, and that's just by the nature of machinery. There is something far more intrusive about two dudes trying to have sex with each other than two girls trying to do the same thing. I think there's more intimacy to it because you've got a penis and you've got to put it somewhere.
We don't want to give away the ending, but were you happy with it?
Duplass: We shot the ending for 10 hours. We checked into a hotel at 7 P.M. and checked out at 7 A.M. and just hoped there was an ending. After seeing it, the ending was totally appropriate for these characters, and I was happy.
What are you the most proud of about Humpday?
Leonard: When I watch that film and I know the extremely limited resources we were working with, I like what happened in the process, and that is that everybody left their egos at the door and brought their A game. The film really moved me, and the fact that an audience is now responding to it is just the icing on the cake.
For more information on Humpday, including release dates for a theater near you, visit www.magpictures.com.