Jay Duplass considers himself a softie.
The low-key writer, actor and director has been involved in a pile of projects since he and his brother, Mark, burst onto the independent movie scene with the 2005 comedy "The Puffy Chair."
Since that breakout, Jay Duplass has done a little bit of everything. He wrote and directed the 2010 comedy "Cyrus," starring John C. Reilly and Jonah Hill. He co-created, wrote and directed the HBO series "Togetherness." He starred in the award-winning Amazon drama "Transparent."
However, those experiences are a cake walk compared to his role in "Outside In."
New Orleans-native Duplass co-wrote and stars in the movie, which screens at 4:45 p.m. Sunday during the Louisiana International Film Festival at Cinemark Perkins Rowe in Baton Rouge. In the drama, he plays a newly-released ex-con who is trying to re-adjust his life. Along the way, he seeks a relationship with his former high school teacher, played by Edie Falco.
Co-writer/director Lynn Shelton first thought of Duplass in the role of the ex-con. However, he wasn't sure he could do the part justice. This would take time, research and rewrites before he could deliver something authentic.
"I was researching the part the whole time I was writing," Duplass said. "When I started meeting (former and current inmates who had been over-sentenced), I experienced a tremendous vulnerability in these people — a vulnerability towards moving into society and towards other people, feeling like no one can be trusted and wondering if they'll ever be able to be loved.
"When I figured that out, that's when I felt empowered to tell the story, to play the part. I knew I could reach some authentic place with it. I knew we could present something that's different than we have usually seen it, too, and do it in a truthful way as far as what I encountered."
Unlike dramas with this subject matter, "Outside In" is slow-paced and natural. There is no big moment. There is no shootout. Instead, there are smaller, more intimate moments. And unlike most everything Duplass has done to this point, "Outside In" is a drama first.
"(Shelton and I) have been joking about how this is our first real grown-up movie," he said. "It's the first movie that's significantly longer than 90 minutes. It's a movie about grown-ups and grown-up issues. We took a little bit of a chance there, explored it and are happy people are liking it."
Another reason the understated drama has received acclaim is Falco's performance. Duplass had met the Golden Globe-winning "Sopranos" star while filming the movie "Landline." When another actress dropped out of "Outside In," Duplass thought Falco would be a natural fit.
"It's Edie Falco. You know her acting abilities, but meeting her personally and realizing, 'Oh my God, she's such a down-to-earth person.' ... I couldn't help but think about her being in this movie," he said. "When she said yes to the script, we were off and running.
"She has such amazing range. She was ready and willing to become a rural Washington 55-year-old working mom. She's a unicorn."
Not one to sit still, Duplass is already working on the next project. He and Mark have signed a deal with Netflix, ensuring release of their upcoming movies through the streaming site. In May, the brothers will also release a book titled "Like Brothers."
"(The book is) a little bit of a memoir of how we came up and got going," Duplass said. "While writing it though, we realized it's more of a study on collaboration."
He won't mince words: Working with his brother can be difficult.
"Totally," he said, laughing. "But you know what else is difficult? Making a goddamned movie. Deep down, it's an inhumane ask of a person to direct a movie. It's too much — the entire process of making a movie.
"The fact that we do share the same sensibility and a similar vision has made it possible for us to do this fairly well for this long. It's worth the trade-off."
WHEN: 4:45 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: Cinemark Perkins Rowe and XD, 10000 Perkins Rowe, Suite 125, Baton Rouge