Ron Livingston & Mark Duplass Interview: Tully

Ron Livingston is an American actor. He is most known for his roles as Rob in Swingers, Peter Gibbons in Office Space, Capt. Lewis Nixon in Band of Brothers and Roy Phillips in Boardwalk Empire. Mark Duplass is a film director, film producer, actor, musician, and screenwriter. He is most known for his comedic works like FX’s The League, HBO’s Togetherness, and Jeff, Who Lives at Home. Both appear in the upcoming film Tully, which releases in theaters on May 4, 2018.

Screen Rant got a chance to chat with Ron Livingston and Mark Duplass on press day, where we discussed where they pulled inspiration from for the film, the balancing act of making their characters likable and realistic, and what they learned working with Jason Reitman.

SR: Great job on this film. It totally touches on a lot of real world parenting issues. Was there any inspiration that you guys drew from either as a mentor, or a parent yourself for this film?

Ron Livingston: Yeah, you know, uh, I guess Drew, who I'm playing is sort of clueless and checked out. So I drew on that. I have a lot of experience with that and I tried to, I tried to draw in as much as I could.

SR: How about yourself, Mark?

Mark Duplass: Yeah, I have two kids and uh, I think the touchstone for me was a watching a character like Marlo played by Charlize Theron really have a vision of who she thought she was going to be as a mother and feeling insecure and bad that she's falling short of it. And, and uh, you know, my wife, my friends who are mothers have all experienced a lot of that and I think that it was a nice character to sort of touch base with and kind of make a whole movie out of.

SR: Drew is very well meaning, but he doesn't necessarily handle a Marlo's struggles quite adequately, right? How was it balancing that, but also making Drew still likable?

Ron Livingston: That was the, I mean, the kind of main device. The main question I felt like I had to answer was how can this guy, you know, how can this guy be there and not see what's going on? And if he doesn't see what's going on, how can we forgive him for that? Um, but I think the truth is, is that there's a lot about, uh, you know, a mother's experience that traditionally dad's have been taught to just sort of take for granted. She's doing it, she's on that. I guess she knows what she's doing there and if she needs something she'll ask me and then I'll do it once and then I'll wait until she asks me again to do it twice. And, you know, and it's um, it's true that, you know, men have responsibilities too and jobs and something. They could say, well, I'm off doing this thing, but if that is terrible and it's soul draining and killing them, they can always quit and go find another job. It's not quite... it's harder to do that. You can't really trade your kid in for, you know, another kid or one kid...

Mark Duplass: I mean, you can. It's just generally frowned upon.

SR: You described Craig as a rich dick. Was there anybody that you base that performance on?

Mark Duplass: I don't really kind of choose people to emulate a character, you know, but when I saw Jason Reitman and Charlize interacting and they're sort of deep love and candor with each other, having already made Young Adult together,  that was really inspiring to me. It felt like a brother, sister combination. I took some bits and pieces of that and put it into the character.

SR: Jason's known as an actor's director. Is there anything you guys learned from him or learned on this project specifically?

Mark Duplass: Ron knows everything. So...

Ron Livingston: You know, I learned something from him in press the other day when he was talking. You know, because you always get the question about the big screen versus the small screen and my stock answer is the camera's the same size, so I don't know what the difference is, but he really made a great point about the communal experience of seeing something in a theater, you know, not with people that you've invited into your living room, but with, with a bunch of strangers and the sort of community that makes you a part of. So I learned that right away,

Mark Duplass: Jason produced one of the early films that I direct with my brother, called Jeff, Who Lives At Home, and he said something to me back then and he, he's, he says it to this day, which is, if a movie is successful, it will make you feel a little bit less alone. And I think when you watch Tully, I think there's a connection point to a person who experiences a struggle. They go inward, they're scared to ask for help. Whether you're a young mom at home or anyone else in that position. I think that's really the most relatable element of the film.

MORE: Watch The Tully Trailer

Key Release Dates
  • Tully (2018) release date: May 04, 2018
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