Mark and Jay Duplass Find Inspiration for Their TV Shows by People Watching at the Airport
Mark Duplass has been repeatedly called one of the hardest working guys in Hollywood. In addition to popping up on many TV shows and films (The League, The Mindy Project, "Tully") he and his brother/collaborator, Jay Duplass, also were pretty much the poster boys (or rather the boys behind the posters) for the mumblecore film genre with movies they co-wrote, produced, and directed, including "The Puffy Chair," "Cyrus," and "Jeff Who Lives at Home."
They are also behind the critically lauded HBO dramedy Togetherness (Jay starred in it as well), and now, thanks to their multi-production deal with Netflix, they are the men who brought you the most talked about documentary of the season, Wild Wild Country.
But the brothers didn't just become unstoppable Hollywood machines overnight, which is why they decided to share their unique journey and the lessons they learned in their new book, Like Brothers.
Travel + Leisure spoke with Mark, who, in addition to his TV talents, also happens to be an extremely savvy traveler. His travel hacks might just help you take your next trip to a new level.
Travel + Leisure: You wrote about how you and your brother actually used to find great inspiration for stories just people watching in the airport. Do you still do that?
Mark Duplass: "That’s a big thing Jay and I do for work. As we’ve gotten older we actually don’t need to say quite as much to each other. We know what the other is thinking. It’s just watching people and looking at each other and raising eyebrows when they do interesting stuff."
What are your top travel rules?
"I have a couple of travel rules. First of all, I never ever check bags. I am notoriously anal and ridiculous about fitting everything into a carry-on suitcase. I had to pack all these dress clothes for these different big events for the book tour and I still did it.
I’ve gotten really good at packing efficiently, and more importantly I’ve gotten really good at combining disparate elements that create the illusion of a new outfit. Like I’ll wear a button-down shirt as the main item and the next night what I’ll do is put a sweater on top of that shirt. Hopefully it doesn’t stink too bad. Now I’ve got a sweater and button shirt combination. Then the next night I’ll put the button-up shirt in the dirties and then I’ll wear the sweater underneath a blazer. The illusion of more outfits is critical.
What I’ve also learned is to always pack two books. Now, 90 percent of the time you don’t finish the first book, but for the times that you do you just want to kick yourself because you don’t have your second book with you. I never leave home without a second book."
What is the best vacation you ever went on?
"We [Duplass is married to actress and filmmaker Katie Aselton] took our kids to Grass Valley, California. We swam in the Yuba river. We’re really close friends with [filmmaker, actor, and frequent Duplass collaborator] Patrick Brice and his wife. There is something just magical about that area in California. That was one of the great, relaxing trips. You don’t really need a five-star hotel. Sometimes you just need swimming in a river and it’s everything."
Do you and your brother vacation together even though you work together?
"Jay and I work together so much and we hang out so much. We hang out every Sunday at our parents' condominium, like all 10 of us — my kids, his kids. We realized vacation-wise we like to do different things, so we have a little bit of church and state, so we go and do other things."
What is the best hotel you've stayed at?
"For my 40th birthday my wife and I went to the Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur. We never do this kind of thing, but it is the most beautiful place on the planet. You’ve never seen anything quite like it. Hot tub overlooking a cliff overlooking the ocean. It is paradise."
What trip is on your bucket list?
"The big thing Katie and I keep talking about is when our youngest graduates from high school, and we never did a Eurail pass in Europe, where we just drop in with a backpack full of clothes — which I clearly know how to pack now — and then hop on a Eurail pass. That element of ‘Where do you want to go today? Let’s just go here’ is very appealing to us especially at the phase of life we’re in now where everything is scheduled with the kids, with school and after school stuff and work."
You have such great travel hacks. Any others you can share?
"Always get ahead of it with downloading your shows and movies on Netflix because you can never ever trust the devices on the plane. They don’t work more than 20 percent of the time. And whenever possible stick to one airline so you can get your upgrades. I’m a Delta man.
If you are renting a car always book one way ahead of time because the prices go up, but you don’t have to pay if you book using Expedia or Kayak or Orbitz. But then the night before you travel, always check back. Sometimes they have a crazy deal."
You should write a travel column!
"Nah, I just gave them all to you."