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[Interview] ‘The Do-Deca Pentathlon’ Cast Talks Family Feuds, Remembering Scripts For Their Directors & More

Written by on July 10, 2012 

While not exactly “lost” for four years – we all know the perils of keeping busy – Mark and Jay DuplassThe Do-Deca-Pentathlon was shot before Cyrus and has been on ice for four years. Now, as the film opens up, platforming around the country and in your home on VOD, the stars of the film, Jennifer Lafleur, Steve Zissis and Mark Kelly, were eager to sit down with TFS and talk the pain of glory that comes with brotherly love. Check out our interview below.

The Film Stage: What’s it like preparing to work with the Duplass Brothers? Their films are scripted but they also give you free reign?

Jennifer Lafleur: I think the only thing you can do to prepare is not to over think it, but to get really connected to the character and to understand them. The first time I read the script I was crying for Stephanie because I really felt her so strongly, and I wanted to take really good care of her. I thought about her and how she was feeling and how she’d react – and that’s it. The more fresh and spontaneous it’ll be.

How about you Steve, I know you worked with them on Baghead and a few other films?

Steve Zissis: For Baghead, I was the only person that sort of memorized the script, and it was kind of a joke on set. They would refer to me to find out what was going to happen in the plot. So that just gives you an idea of to what extent they do improvise and a lot of times it’s a choose-you-own adventure type of situation, where Mark and Jay are literally guiding and creating the plot of the film, moment to moment.

It’s a bit of a rough outline?

JL: They’re all fully scripted.

Mark Kelly: It’s actually fully scripted and that saved me because I came on last, and had only a few days of preparation. So that well-written script got me in tune with my character and they basically said, ‘just dive in and prepare to suck – because good stuff will come out of that.’

Dare to suck.

JL: That’s Steve and Mark Kelly’s motto – “Dare to suck”

And the role of New Orleans, I know they have some association with Austin…

JL: They’re actually New Orleans natives – they grew up in New Orleans and went to college here. So they view both Austin and New Orleans as their mutual hometowns and Steve went to high school with them in New Orleans.

SZ: Yes, it was a very strict Jesuit high school – which is probably why we became artists.

Steve – you said you knew the folks this was based on – these guys that had this competition?

SZ: I think it was an event that took place in high school – they are real brothers, they haven’t seen the movie yet, but they’re anticipating it with great excitement and I hear they’re getting into shape.

Do they still do this – this is one of the enduring things about the Duplass Brothers is their characters physically mature but still hold on to certain things and compulsions.

SZ: I feel like this “biopic” we’ve created has reinvigorated the challenge – I think Do-Deca with the real brothers will reemerge.

JL: That’d be awesome.

It’s been four years in the making…

JL: It’s probably the first movie I’ve had that I’ve had one of the bigger roles, and it spoiled me for a while – it was so special – it was a real magical experience where everyone jelled together so well, the lines were a bit blurred between what was the movie family and what was on screen.

MK: I triple-second that – like the Olympics, the shooting and making of Do-Deca occurs every four years, it was like sort of Los Angeles 84 and when it comes it’s like Seoul 88. And we’re all Greg Louganis and we’re going to make that dive into the movie world.

Four years later – right before they got spoiled with studio money, this is like the lost indie that’s surfaced.

JL: Yeah, it’s vintage Duplass.

The Do-Deca-Pentathlon is now playing in select cities and it is also screening in special engagements via TUGG and available nation-wide on demand.

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