Sundance: Duplass and Moss share mind-bending hit
05:00 AM, Jan 22, 2014
PARK CITY, Utah There’s a reason Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Moss are grinning today.
Their big gamble, The One I Love, a Woody Allen-style love story that takes an unexpected sci-fi turn, is gaining serious traction at the Sundance Film Festival.
Even better? The Wednesday morning screening left audience members debating in the streets as to what they actually just witnessed.
People “get into these raging debates with one another,” says Duplass, whose phone rings constantly during an interview, as buyers actively bid on the film.
The hard part, for both of its stars, is actually talking about the movie.
“It’s really important” not to know too much about the plot, says Duplass, who stars as Moss’ husband. The couple has fallen into a lackluster slump, and seeks counseling. Their therapist (Ted Danson) encourages them to take a weekend at a gorgeous retreat, just by themselves.
The film starts as “an in-depth relationship study,” says Duplass. “And then (things) get weird.”
Outrageously funny in one turn and contemplative in the next, The One I Love probes how we idealize love’s electric early days.
“What I really connected to was the idea of examining, in a very pointed way, the worst and best version of yourself and who you are in a relationship,” says Moss, who is also here with the film Listen Up Philip. “And what is the ideal girlfriend? From a woman’s point of view, what do guys actually want?” she says, laughing.
For Duplass, the topic is equally personal. “My wife and I have been together for 13 year,” he says. “For me, it’s a question of examining sustainability of love.
“I’ve certainly been so guilty of trying to woo people, almost like a praying mantis, putting on the best version of myself,” he adds. “And then you reel them in, you feel secure, and you’re like, ‘here’s who I really am!’ “
The One I Love simultaneously uses a remarkable plot device to explore emotional versus physical cheating, and winds up in a mind-bending place. “The phone’s been ringing quite a bit. That’s all I’ll say,” says Duplass, who pitched a “germ of the idea” to director Charlie McDowell, who expanded on it with his writing partner, Justin Lader. “We’ve been really lucky to have people respond in this way.”