In Select Theaters This Friday
Mark Hamill: It’s hard to promote [the movie BRIGSBY BEAR] without being able to be specific…
Film Courage: Yeah…I know.
Mark Hamill: It’s my fondest hope that people will go because the best way to see it is completely cold without any preconceived notions. And I got to see [this movie] in Sundance with an audience which is always exciting. Because if you go to a studio screening everybody’s predisposed to really like it. Here was an audience that was really honest and then the reaction was wonderful.
Film Courage: Well I’m wondering if we can role play for a moment actually?
Kyle Mooney: Oh…wow?
Film Courage: Just a quick role play.
Kyle Mooney: Okay? Yeah…I’m listening…
Film Courage: It will be PG. It will be totally PG-13.
Kyle Mooney: Okay.
Film Courage: We won’t offend anyone or anything like that. Can you practice or show us sort of how you pitched Mark Hamill the script [for BRIGSBY BEAR] without giving away the incredible premise? I know this is the tough part.
Mark Hamill: You didn’t have to!
Kyle Mooney: The Hollywood thing is there are people who are doing all of these things kind of for you. Like we wrote the script and then our producers (I imagine) got it in the hands of either your daughter or your representation?
Mark Hamill: Probably my daughter.
Kyle Mooney: And then you had a chance to read it.
Mark Hamill: She runs everything. I don’t know what’s going on.
Kyle Mooney: We were fortunate in that one of our producers is friends with Chelsea so…
Mark Hamill: Is that right?
Kyle Mooney: Right? That is correct. She’s over here [points off camera].
Film Courage: Oh! Great choice. Awesome choice!
Kyle Mooney: But we can still do the role play!
Film Courage: Okay! Let’s do it.
Kyle Mooney: Here…here’s what it would have been like “Hey, Bill over at Lonely Island, can you get this…or Will over at Lord and Miller, can you get this script over to Chelsea Hamel to potentially get it to Mark Hamill?” “We will do our best!” “Okay, thank you!” And I imagine you get a phone call or an email…
Mark Hamill: “Send me a deal memo! I don’t care about the script. I just want to know how much I can make! Do I get any back-end?” Believe me, at this point in my career, the script is everything. I was saying to Kyle earlier, I don’t even know how much I made for this movie because once I like something and you factor in that they don’t have a huge budget. That’s what I love about this. George [Lucas] called STAR WARS the most expensive low-budget movie ever made.
Kyle Mooney: And which George?
Mark Hamill: Oh, he’s retired now but his point was that all the money is up on the screen. The only place they had to pay real money to were Sir Alec Guinness and Peter Cushing because we were all pretty much unknowns. And with this I was set up in the wrong way because it’s called BRIGSBY BEAR and it’s co-written by Kyle Mooney [and Kevin Costello] and it’s directed by the Saturday Night Live guy [Dave McCary] and Andy Samberg is connected and Beck Bennett and Michaela Watkins, so I was expecting these people. So I was expecting this broad, over-the-top comedy and it was so unexpected. I loved it from the first time I read it.
Film Courage: Did the character of Ted take any convincing [for you to want to portray]? Because I know he is a complicated person (again without trying to give away too much information). But I think I had read something in the press notes Mark that you said that he’s the kind of character that you’d rather watch than play. I mean there is a lot of layers to him.
Mark Hamill: Yeah. He’s dark. Well again, it wasn’t from the standpoint that I have to play a character that everyone admires. You know, I love playing villainous roles but no villain ever thinks of themselves as evil. They did the right thing in their estimation. But there is no getting around he did something that terrifies any parent. That’s like their worst fear. But again, that wasn’t so important in the larger scheme of things. I was just trying to understand a person that would do that. And I think Jane Adams who plays my wife does a lot in making you understand their relationship and how controlling and aggressive she is. But she brings a lot more to the table than the script so we were really lucky to have her.
Film Courage: Kyle are you aware of how other people who are fan obsessed are going to relate to this film because it shows such a great…I mean it’s an original story but it’s also sort of a wonderful tribute to you and all of your Good Neighbor (Youtube Sketch Comedy Group) on being obsessed and making something. Wondering if you can talk about that?
Kyle Mooney: Well…I’m an obsessive person and I’ve had so many obsessions throughout my life. Star Wars being one of them at one point. And yeah it’s true there are people that love our videos and followed us for so long and I hope they come along to see this because…it’s not necessarily what those videos are, it’s different. But in terms of obsession and fandom, what you see on screen is the way a lot of us feel. We have such a strong connection to these TV shows or movies or music and it’s not always a terrible thing. In the case of this movie, [Kyle’s character protagonist James Pope] love for Brigsby Bear kind of unites him and his friends and his family and they make this thing together.
Mark Hamill: You never outgrew….you outgrow these things, right? You said “There was a point where I liked STAR WARS” because basically our fans are the young and the mentally young.
Kyle Mooney: No. My point is I’ve never outgrown STAR WARS. My point was there was a specific time where I was probably the most obsessed about it. Now it’s turned into a minor obsession.
Mark Hamill: [Laughs] Okay. Just checking. It’s okay. I mean people come up and say “I’m really sorry I’ve never seen STAR WARS.” Well, that’s fine! I’m not upset. That’s okay. It’s not for everybody, you know. Like I said, the young and the mentally young. Those are the ones that are really our biggest fans. There is something to be said about it appeals to the child in all of us because you see grown men, policemen and firemen who are authority figures let down their guard and become 9-years-old again. Like “Will you pose with this lightsaber?” “Really!? You were just about to arrest me. Now you’re my friend?” It’s been amazing because I never expected it to have this longevity or the impact on these people. And you meet people all the time that say “I became what I became because of that movie.” So it’s quite…it’s awesome when you think of the impact that it’s had after all these years. I certainly never thought I’d still be talking about it.
Kyle Mooney: And that’s what we’re trying to do with BRIGSBY BEAR.
Mark Hamill: And I think you’re well on your way because it is like a valentine to obsessed compulsives, you know? You’re saying it’s okay to be this way. I love the fact that James is so accepted by the teenagers you’ll think ‘Well gosh someone that innocent, you know he is almost like Rip Van Winkle where he wakes up in a world he never made.
I love the scene with the teenage party they’re having and he doesn’t know all of the vernacular (he’s using some of the slang wrong). And instead of being cynical and ostracizing and making fun of him, he’s accepted. I mean it’s charming, it really is.
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Paul Castro the original writer of the Warner Bros. hit movie, AUGUST RUSH.He is a produced, award winning screenwriter and world-renowned screenwriting professor. Success leaves clues and so do masterfully crafted screenplays that sell for millions of dollars.