After helping to reinvigorate the indie film scene in the aughts with his particular brand of mumblecore, Mark Duplass helmed Cyrus, Jeff, Who Lives at Home, and The Do-Deca-Pentathlon in consecutive years but hasn’t directed a movie since 2012. With Togetherness and Room 104, not mention a plethora of acting projects, he’s stayed busy since then but he’s now set to finally return to feature filmmaking.
THR reports he’s set to direct an adaptation of A Horse Walks Into a Bar, David Grossman’s 2014 short novel, which won the Man Booker International Prize. A Village Roadshow Pictures production, the story tells the life of a stand-up comic, as revealed in the course of one evening’s performance. In the dance between comic and audience, with barbs flying back and forth, a deeper story begins to take shape — one that alters the lives of many of those in attendance and leads to a series of candid and chilling revelations about his past.
Read the full synopsis below via Amazon.
In a little dive in a small Israeli city, Dov Greenstein, a comedian a bit past his prime, is doing a night of stand-up. In the audience is a district court justice, Avishai Lazar, whom Dov knew as a boy, along with a few others who remember Dov as an awkward, scrawny kid who walked on his hands to confound the neighborhood bullies. Gradually, as it teeters between hilarity and hysteria, Dov’s patter becomes a kind of memoir, taking us back into the terrors of his childhood: we meet his beautiful flower of a mother, a Holocaust survivor in need of constant monitoring, and his punishing father, a striver who had little understanding of his creative son. Finally, recalling his week at a military camp for youth—where Lazar witnessed what would become the central event of Dov’s childhood—Dov describes the indescribable while Lazar wrestles with his own part in the comedian’s story of loss and survival. Continuing his investigations into how people confront life’s capricious battering, and how art may blossom from it, Grossman delivers a stunning performance in this memorable one-night engagement (jokes in questionable taste included).
As we await more details on the adaptation, see Duplass’ remembrance of his friend and collaborator Lynn Shelton: