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Mark Duplass brings improvisation and heart to new film Blue Jay

The writer and actor takes inspiration from his teenage romance in this new film about high school sweethearts.
Actor Mark Duplass wrote and stars in the new film, Blue Jay. (Getty Images for The New Yorker)

Mark Duplass had to e-mail his high school sweetheart prior to the release of his new film, Blue Jay

The actor and writer of this film needed to warn this woman that parts of this story take inspiration from their teenage romance. No, it's not the exact same tale, but it's clear that Duplass has put a lot of heart into this film. 

"I don't normally experience what you'd call creative fear," Duplass says. "But this one was scary for me.

"I try to curb the amount of melancholy and nostalgia that is just spilling out of me on a daily basis because I don't think my audience deserves to be covered in that. This is the one movie where I said, what if I just pulled the plug and let it rip?" 

The result is an incredibly intimate and, yes, sweet (but not too sweet) movie that follows Duplass and Sarah Paulson as they relive their '90s relationship over the course of a day in their hometown. 

Most of the film was also improvised, a skill that Duplass has worked on over the years and a first for Paulson. 

"We had a 10-page outline that we were shooting from and it was all resting on whatever chemistry Sarah and I could muster," he says. "It was all geared towards creating an environment where lightning can strike." 

WEB EXTRA | Watch the trailer for Blue Jay below. 

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