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NYCC ’13: Mark Duplass talks getting bizarre with “BAD MILO!”

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Best known for indie dramedies like CYRUS and JEFF, WHO LIVES AT HOME, filmmakers Mark and Jay Duplass take a walk on the weirder side as executive producers of the recently released BAD MILO! Mark gave Fango some words on the oddball monster flick, so read on…

We spoke to Duplass (who also scripted and served as an executive producer on Katie Aselton’s survival thriller BLACK ROCK) while he was promoting BAD MILO! at New York Comic-Con over the weekend. Currently on VOD and in regional theatrical release (go here for playdates) from Magnet Releasing, BAD MILO! was directed by Jacob Vaughan (see interview here) from a script he wrote with Benjamin Hayes. Ken Marino stars as Duncan, an office worker put upon by his boss, his mother and others, whose stress manifests itself as a diminutive creature living in his bowels. The monster, whom Duncan dubs Milo, starts popping out of his butt to bloodily dispatch those who have angered him, and Duncan has to find a way to keep the demon under control before he attacks the wrong people. The cast also includes Gillian Jacobs, Mary Kay place, Patrick Warburton and Peter Stormare; Justin Raleigh and Fractured FX created the impressive physical Milo character.

BADMILODUPLASSNEWSFANGORIA: Your previous genre films, also including the slasher-tinged satire BAGHEAD, have been very naturalistic, while BAD MILO is much more stylized. Can you comment on making that transition?

MARK DUPLASS: Well, this one was very personal for the filmmaker, Jacob Vaughan, because he has a lot of stomach issues [laughs], and I know that first-hand because he edits with me. I don’t think I would direct a movie like this myself, but Jay and I liked the idea that we could help bring in actors who know how to do the naturalism thing, and combine our sense of relationships and character with a fun, campy genre piece. That was a good fit.

FANG: How involved were you and your brother in the design and development of Milo?

DUPLASS: We were in all the initial meetings where we talked about what he should look like, and the concept of Milo kind of feeling like intestines and being a little slimy. The idea the whole time, though, was that he needed to be as f**king adorable as possible before the teeth come out. We just wanted him to be really sweet and cute, so you could feel a really sick, codependent bond between Ken Marino’s character and Milo.

FANG: Did that past emphasis on naturalism in your films play into the decision to do Milo as a live puppet as opposed to using digital FX?

DUPLASS: Definitely! Not only did we not have the money to do it with CGI, but we all liked the idea of making a fun, mid-’80s-style horror/comedy with puppets flying all over the place, and get that real low-fi vibe.

FANG: Were you able to be on set when Milo was doing his thing?

DUPLASS: I saw a couple of days with him, and the puppeteers were unbelievable; they should be nominated for an Oscar for that performance. They were incredible!

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Michael Gingold
Michael Gingold has been a member of the FANGORIA team for the past three decades. After starting as a writer for the magazine in 1988, he came aboard as associate editor in 1990 and two years later moved up to managing editor, the position he holds to this day while continuing to contribute numerous articles and reviews.
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