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DUPLEX

About The Production
The story for "Duplex" sprang from the mind of screenwriter LARRY DOYLE, and it was initially inspired by a true event that happened in France. In 1965, a 47-year-old lawyer agreed to pay the $500 monthly rent on a beautiful apartment occupied by a 90- year-old woman, Jeanne Calment, until her death. At that time, the lawyer would inherit her home. 

Unfortunately for him, Calment went on to become the oldest woman in the world, living until the age of 122. She died in 1997… one year after the lawyer's death at age 77.

"There was certainly a valuable life lesson there that would relate to my story," says Doyle. 

With that, Doyle tinkered with the premise and changed the location to Brooklyn. He also drew characters from his own life – although he's not saying which ones: "I don't want to specifically identify the individuals from which I borrowed," he says. "Essentially, they were my friends, neighbors and family, but some will most certainly recognize themselves when they see this film." 

Doyle first pitched his idea to producers BEN STILLER and STUART CORNFELD through their company, Red Hour Films, and the response was enthusiastic. "Larry's concept was very intriguing," says Stiller, "as the setup itself offered enormous possibilities. Both Stuart and I loved it and immediately thought that it would be perfect for DREW BARRYMORE. I always wanted to work with her, and here was the perfect project." 

Cornfeld adds, "Larry had the entire story, the plot twists, the humor, everything – fully fleshed out." 

Larry and his pitch were equally well received at Flower Films, the production company Barrymore owns with partner Nancy Juvonen. Barrymore was also eager to work with Stiller and figured this film would be a fun-filled project for the two of them. "Ben is a wonderful person, and I've always admired his work, and there was this wonderful challenge, this opportunity to be able to work with him and create these characters," says Barrymore. 

She adds, "A crucial aspect to this story is the chemistry between Nancy and Alex; they change, they're beaten up, and they go through a lot – always together, side-by-side, this nutty husband and wife." 

NANCY JUVONEN agrees: "What struck me was the way the story's strength lies with the characters, this couple," she says. "Yes, they are certainly somewhat rotten with their material pursuits, but you see through that; you see into their heart and soul, and, in a sense, you can empathize with them and laugh at their frustrations." 

So with enthusiasm and support from both Stiller and Barrymore as well as their respective producing partners, Doyle set out to write the script. After another few months, he turned it in to them – and the reaction was overwhelmingly positive. "The script, page by page, beat-by-beat, was exactly how he pitched us in the room," says Barrymore. "That is not only a good thing; it's a very rare thing."

With the script completed and both leading roles cast, director DANNY DeVITO came onboard. DeVito remembers, "I got the call, they sent the script, I read it, and just thought how charming the story was and how much fun this would be. Drew and Ben had already been working on this project for some time. They were well into their characters, their chemistry was tight, and they were already a natural couple." 

Barrymore agrees: "Ben and I really got to know each other, so as a couple that obviously had a history together, we applied all our experiences that we learned about each other in pre-production." 

DeVito saw the material as a series of tremendous comic possibilities. "I wanted to establish the irony of having this obstacle – this sweet but absurdly defiant old woman, Mrs. Connelly, in front of what you desperately want," he says. "And you find yourself, kidding yourself, ac

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