Mark Duplass was intimidated the first time he met Emmy-winning actress Sarah Paulson. It didn’t take long for the duo to connect and lay the foundation for Blue Jay, their upcoming two-hander. Some levity helped.
“I was just shocked at the level of gleeful fart jokes that were coming out of her mouth, and I was like, ‘She’s just a really sweet, normal girl, and I haven’t seen that person on camera yet,’” Duplass told EW. “So I asked her to do it, and in between all seven of her Ryan Murphy shows, she found seven days for us to shoot. It was great, intensely collaborative. It was a very introspective process.”
Blue Jay features Duplass and Paulson playing former high school sweethearts who serendipitously cross paths at a grocery store in their hometown, moving from a quick catch-up to spending hours together. Duplass acknowledges the movie doesn’t explore new ground, but strove to give the story a new element.
“When we went into this, we were very realistic that we could make a huge stinker. I was up all night worrying about the whole movie, to be honest with you,” he said. “There’s very little plot, and there wasn’t a lot on the page. It was about trying to find the chemistry between me and Sarah Paulson.”
“My whole thing with making a movie like this is, you’re trying to capture lightning in a bottle,” he added. “You’re trying to foster an environment where the first take probably sucks, second take’s kind of getting on its feet, third take we’re feeling it out, and — oh my god! — it clicks in on that fourth take. Because it’s unrehearsed and you’re looking for it, it has a spontaneity to it that I’m always chasing.”
Blue Jay is Mark and his brother Jay Duplass’ first of four movies with Netflix. Mark Duplass penned the screenplay, while Alex Lehmann makes his directorial debut and also served as cinematographer.
See the interview above and a trailer below. Blue Jay debuts in theaters on Friday, hits digital and VOD platforms on Tuesday, and Netflix shortly after that.