September 25, 2017 at 10:00 AM EDT

There’s scarcely been a bigger name in American indie film over the past decade than the Duplass Brothers.

Together, Mark and Jay Duplass have produced dozens of features, written and directed four well-received movies, and created two HBO series. Individually, they’ve carved out notable acting careers — Jay in a leading role on Amazon’s Emmy-winning Transparent, Mark heading up acclaimed films like The One I Love and Your Sister’s Sister. At seemingly any point in time, if they don’t have a major project on the way as a team, chances are one has a big movie coming out soon.

That the pair is so entwined in the collective imagination has its ups and downs — a fact explored deeply and meticulously in the Duplass’ upcoming book Like Brothers. The two share the secrets of their lifelong partnership, reveal its impact on their personal lives, and discuss the process of separating family from business.

Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

“Wright. Ringling. Jonas. I’m sure you could name a bunch of famous brother teams,” actress Mindy Kaling writes in the book’s foreword. “They’re all garbage compared to Mark and Jay. I can’t wait for you to read this book.”

EW can exclusively share an excerpt from the Like Brothers prologue, as well the official jacket art. See for yourself below, and look out for the book when it’s released on May 1, 2018.

Ballantine Books

Excerpt from Like Brothers by Mark Duplass and Jay Duplass


The royal we is a tricky thing. It’s certainly helpful at times. It allows us to share that collective first-person-plural voice that makes us The Boys (a label that’s stuck since childhood). The royal we perfectly sets up those inspiring twenty-to-thirty-word quotes in articles written about the beauty of our long-term film and TV collaboration. How we share the same brain. How one pronoun can encompass us both. Basically, we use it to talk about ourselves because it brings our voices together. Making us stronger.

But it also sucks sometimes. Because there’s a distinct lack of I in that we. And the bizarre, undefinable edges that make us uniquely ourselves get rubbed out so that the we can come across more clearly. Is it reductive? Sometimes a little bit. Sometimes a lot. But it’s for the greater good, right? Because no one wants to listen to Lindsey Buckingham’s solo record (sorry, Mr. Buckingham, as much as we love your technically proficient acoustic finger-picking, this is just a reality). Peo¬ple want to listen to Fleetwood Mac. That magical blend of disparate talents that creates the special soup you can eat all week, not just on Tuesday afternoon when you’re hungover and feeling weird.

So we use the royal we. And in the past ten years or so, The Boys have become a brand of sorts. The ideal creative duo. And we feel many people’s hopes and dreams pinned upon us. That we will stay together and live in collaborative bliss forever. That others might build a similar bond with one of their siblings or, even better, have kids who get along like we do. So, people pleasers that we are, we play into this fantasy with idyllic sound bites about our collaborative process:

“Two heads are better than one.”

“It’s hard making good art, and we’d rather put aside our differences and get each other’s help.”

“Whatever personal issues we have are quickly dwarfed by our love for each other and our understanding that we need each other to navigate this world.”

And all of this is true, but not entirely so. What’s also true is how oddly difficult it is to do what we do and keep this thing moving forward. How we struggled for years trying to make a decent piece of art together. How we finally broke through, with each other’s help, and created a new model of making films and TV in the process. How this success has brought its own set of challenges. How our intense closeness through the years has caused trouble for our girlfriends and now our wives. How we stand next to each other in this life, trying desperately to hold on to each other and keep The Boys to¬gether, while at the same time lovingly pummeling each other in the face so we can get a breath of air that doesn’t already smell like the other one’s breath.

And how on a daily basis we cry more than grown men should. But laugh a shit-ton as well.

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