By Sahil Patel
Will unveil comedy “Wedlock” at South by Southwest
Acclaimed indie filmmakers Mark and Jay Duplass (“The Puffy Chair”) have partnered with actress Jennifer Lafleur on a new independently-produced comedy web series called “Wedlock,” which will make its premiere at South by Southwest tomorrow, March 8.
The show follows three individuals: Dave and Fiona, a “perfect couple” that actually doesn’t behave like a couple, and Dr. Jay Meeks, a world-renowned marriage counselor they bring in to help them create a successful romantic relationship — “by any means necessary.” A pair of type-A personalities, the not-a-couple proceed to drive the counselor insane.
The cast is headlined by Mark Duplass and Lafleur in the role of the odd couple, and Rob Corddry as the straight-man counselor. This is Duplass’ first digital project, while Corddry has some experience on this front with the original web version of “Children’s Hospital.” Other stars include Ed Begley, Jr., who appears in four episodes, Steve Little, Katie Aselton, Mark Kelly, and Maria Thayer.
The idea comes from Lafleur, who has starred in Duplass brothers films like “The Do-Deca-Pentathlon” and “Jeff, Who Lives at Home.” In true indie form, Lafleur, who’s managed by Brian Steinberg at Principato-Young Entertainment, decided to create the series after running into some “dead ends” on the traditional media circuit. “[Brian and I] felt like we were already doing everything we’re supposed to,” says Lafleur. “So Brian talked me into creating my own thing.”
Soon after, writer Josh Perilo boarded the project and readied a pilot script, with Lafleur’s collaborator Ross Partridge set to direct. It was around here when Mark Duplass agreed to star in the show, as long as it could align with his schedule.
It’s also here, again, when the business slowed things down for Lafleur. Working with Corey Moss, the newly-promoted SVP of digital and production at PYE, the team started shopping the idea around.
“It was around the time when everyone was looking at ‘Burning Love’ moving from Yahoo to E!” says Moss. “We had a lot of offers right away for that multi-window model.” But with Duplass, who stars in FX’s “The League,” and Corddry, who’s on the TV version of “Children’s Hospital,” already on a heavy TV schedule, Moss says it wasn’t going to work for that type of business plan.
Which is when the group decided to go fully independent. “It’s such a slow process when you’re depending on someone else to do it for you,” says Lafleur. “If you’re not making it happen for yourself, it doesn’t happen in a timely fashion.”
Duplass agreed to finance the project, and came on board as executive producer. A few weeks later, the entire 10-episode
season (with each episode roughly five minutes in length) was shot.
With the full show ready, Moss says he’s looking at all forms of distribution and revenue — from a pay-for-play to bringing a presenting brand sponsor — with several ongoing conversations with potential partners.
To build interest, the group is producing a SXSW panel, which will screen the first three episodes and feature a conversation between Moss, Lafleur, Duplass, Corddry, and Partridge. “A couple of digital projects have played at South by Southwest before,” says Moss. “But this is the first time a project like this, which doesn’t have a distributor locked in, is premiering there.” The hope is that the chatter around the panel will build more interest for the project and facilitate a deal.
“Wedlock” is produced by Duplass Brothers Productions in association with Principato-Young Entertainment. Mark and Jay Duplass are executive producers alongside Lafleur and Jen Roskind.
The SXSW panel will begin at 3pm in Ballroom G of the Austin Convention Center.