Duplass brothers look to put a ‘Pitchfork’ in it


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EXCLUSIVE: Mark and Jay Duplass made the jump from mumblecore to mainstream with the well-received black comedy ‘Cyrus’ last summer and will bring out the Jason Segel-Ed Helms feature ‘Jeff Who Lives at Home’ (produced by Jason Reitman) later this year.

Now the ‘Puffy Chair ‘ pair seek to continue their bigger-budget pattern — and possibly, as with ‘Cyrus,’ using Jonah Hill in a mother-son theme.


The writer-directors have penned a new script that has been making the rounds in the past few days to Hollywood studios, say two people who’ve gotten a look at the script but asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to speak about it.

Titled ‘Pitchfork,’ it’s a dramatic thriller about the middle-aged mother of an indie rocker who, after her son is killed in a car accident, seeks vengeance on an online blogger who had peddled snark about her son (on the music site Pitchfork, hence one of the title’s entendres). Things take a turn, though, when she finds out the snarker is just a teenager.

The film contains a juicy role for the mother (Susan Sarandon is one of the actresses who’s being sought for the part) as well as the teen blogger, with Hill having discussed it with the filmmakers, said a person familiar with the pitch. It’s not known if Mark Duplass, a performer whose most prominent acting appearance came in the indie buzz title ‘Humpday’ in 2009, will take a supporting part in the film himself. Mark Duplass did not immediately reply to a message seeking comment.

The brother filmmakers began their career with the 2005 Sundance darling ‘The Puffy Chair,’ a dramedy that explored a troubled couple on a road trip and was one of the best-known of the brand of offbeat verite known as mumblecore. After another indie, the genre-inflected ‘Baghead,’ they made the jump to more star-driven pictures with ‘Cyrus,’ which starred Hill, Marisa Tomei and John C. Reilly and was made by 20th Century Fox subsidiary Fox Searchlight.

Family relationships, particularly those between mothers and grown children, have been a recent preoccupation for the filmmakers. ‘Cyrus’ had Hill in a too-close relationship with his mother (Tomei), and ‘Jeff’ has Segel as a grown man who is sent by his mother on a routine errand to find that the universe may be sending him strange signals.


The actor: Jonah Hill heads toward greater visibility


— Steven Zeitchik

Photo. Jonah Hill, Marisa Tomei and John C. Reilly in ‘Cyrus.’ Credit: Fox Searchlight.