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Joshua Leonard, Mark Duplass, Lynn Shelton

Total Film

January 2010

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The stars of Humpday, on their adorable straight/gay porno and why buff guys aren’t funny

Humpday is a smart, bloody hilarious mumblecore indie about two straight pals, who get wasted at a party and conspire to make an amateur gay porn together for real-life erotica film festival Humpfest. Directed by Lynn Shelton and starring Joshua Leonard (The Blair Witch Project) and Mark Duplass (Baghead) as Ben (rootless, lonesome) and Andrew (married, sensible), Humpday is more charming than salacious. “All three of us are big fans of making movies that are shaggy and improvised, but have a nice, healthy plot so people don’t get bored,” says Duplass, whose The Puffy Chair is Jonah Hill’s favourite movie. Heavily improvised, even Leonard and Duplass weren’t sure how far Ben and Andrew would go in Humpday’s, er, climactic scene.

So Mark, did you really trick Joshua into starring in Humpday?

Mark: It sounds more conniving than it was. It was a product of my subconscious fear to bring up the idea. I flipped him an email, like, “Hey, do you want to play my best friend in a movie?”

Joshua: It was the most obtuse film pitch in history, but The Puffy Chair blew my mind, so honestly it could have been a snuff film about two guys jumping off a cliff and I would have said yes.

You went in with no script – just a detailed outline for each scene...

Joshua: Lynn gave us a tremendous amount of latitude. For me, because I’m not that smart or talented, when I’m improvising it needs to be based in a reality, even if it’s hyperbolised. A lot of Andrew is me from a decade, 15 years ago.

Did you expect it to turn out so funny?

Joshua: A tremendous amount of that is Nat Sanders, our editor. If you watched the raw footage, it’s sporadically funny and quite often really boring.

Mark: There’s about 35,000 shitty movies that could have come out of this movie and Nat got the right one.

Did you do anything to get in shape for the hotel porn-shoot rendezvous?

Joshua: A ton of little blue pills! I made sure I was prepared to pee a lot.

Mark: I’ll tell you exactly what I did. My family went to Hawaii for a week and I ate the breakfast buffet every day. I ate the shit out of the bacon tray. And then I was, “Oh my god, in three weeks I’m gonna be in a hotel room with my clothes off.” But, you know, buff guys just aren’t funny.

How was the kiss?

Joshua: That was my first ever man-kiss! And I was honestly kind of excited. I’m 34, and if there are any underlying parts of me that could eventually come out, I wanna discover them now. And I discovered that physically at least, there is no latent homosexuality in me.

Mark: It didn’t seem that awkward in light of what could be happening in the hotel room. It was like, “This is not as difficult as what might be happening in the next 20 minutes.”

If you had to choose a male star to make a Humpfest film with, who would it be?

Joshua: I can look at Johnny Depp or George Clooney and go, “They are beautiful men.” Would I wanna touch their pee-pees? Like, not really…

Mark: I’ve never really had a man-crush but I’d say Heath Ledger.

Without giving away what happens, how far were you prepared to go?

Joshua: All the carnal penetration shots wound up on the cutting room floor. DVD extras, man!

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