BRIGSBY BEAR is a unique creation. An absurdist comedy that heralds the triumph of innocence over cynicism, it is heartwarming in its celebration of creativity as applied to obsessive fandom, in this case of the eponymous star of a kid’s television show. It’s that last part that I wanted to discuss with Kyle Mooney and Dave McCary when I spoke with them on July 15, 2017. The guys, friends since childhood, talked about the obsessions they’ve shared since grade school, as well as why obsession is not necessarily a negative phenomenon.
We went on to talk about how their friendship informs their filmmaking style; whether or not Dave dares to push Kyle too far; writing a script with Kevin Costello that eschews irony and cynicism; the support they both received from family and friends as kids making short videos.
We finished up with them remembering the moment that they realize that they could be filmmakers; James’ wardrobe in the film; the sensitive way that the film deals with how James deals with the trauma of having what he thought was real taken away from him; and why Greenblatt’s deli was a great place for a movie pitch.
N.B. McCary speaks first.
BRIGSBY BEAR is their sweet paean to imagination, childhood, and the power of both gunner foxes and innocence. Mooney plays James, a young man who has lived his life in the safety and isolation of a desert bunker with his parents. His days are filled with study, chores, and the magical world of Brigsby Bear, who fights the evil sun-snatcher while also reminding James about the importance of math vectors. All is right in James’ world until the unsettling revelation that everything he believed was true about his life has been a lie. Except Brigsby. In his new life, James clings to the ursine superhero, undaunted that no one on the outside has ever heard of him, and determines to finish Brigsby’s epic saga, a quest that unexpectedly charms those around him into wanting to help. The film co-stars Jane Adams, Beck Bennet, Claire Danes, Mark Hammill, Greg Kinnear, Kate Lyn Shell, Matt Walsh, Michaela Watkins, and Andy Samberg as the man in the sunglasses. McCary directed from a script by Mooney and Kevin Costello, and this is his feature film directorial debut. Mooney and McCary’s previous collaborations include Saturday Night Live, and the LA-based sketch comedy group Good Neighbors.