SDCC 2017: Brigsby Bear Bares His Heart To Hall H

Comic-Con 2017As much as Comic-Con likes to bring in the major studios to Hall H to show off footage and more for their upcoming blockbusters, there are also the smaller panels that put a highlight on other things. Brigsby Bear is one such thing. Here’s an upcoming indie film co-written by and starring Saturday Night Live‘s Kyle Mooney and produced by The Lonely Island. I’ve actually already seen the film and can say it’s a quirky comedy-drama with a lot of weirdness and heart. The panel for Brigsby Bear held onto that weirdness, as the Mooney and other cast and crew members went into how this film came about, following a presentation of the first 12 minutes of the film.

For a bit a summary about the movie, Brigsby Bear Adventures is a children’s TV show produced for an audience of one, James (Kyle Mooney). When the show abruptly ends, James’ life changes forever, and he sets out to finish the story himself. That is incredibly vague, but perhaps this latest trailer will help out flesh things out further (it does, by the way, so beware of spoilers beyond the first act):

As one can see, there’s a unique story being told here. The panel was very keen to stay away from major plot details, beyond what has been observed in the opening, but they were happy to go over the origins of Brigsby Bear Adventures, the TV show within the film. The panel included Mooney, director Dave McCary, co-writer Kevin Costello, co-star Beck Bennett, and producers Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone. Mooney had the most insight, for obvious reasons, but he did reveal just how deep his geekdom goes when it comes to his VHS collection.

Brigsby Bear puts a lot of focus on the sort of retro look and feel for the TV show, which meant pulling from a lot of different real series with an emphasis on children’s entertainment and education (and bears) from the 70s/80s. It’s an interesting route to take but certainly felt justified after hearing from Mooney about what he collects and where his interests lie. With Mooney working with his friends to bring this project to life, there was certainly a further understanding that this is a real passion project. It may mean there’s a lot of weirdness in store for audiences, but I should emphasize the level of heart in this story that goes well with this terrific cast.

While not going too far into who is playing who, it should be noted that James’ parents are played by Jane Adams and Mark Hamill. Hamill, in particular, is pulling off some things based on what can be seen in Brigsby Bear Adventures, as he is providing a lot of different voices. The cast also includes Claire Danes, Greg Kinnear, Matt Walsh, Michaela Watkins and Andy Samberg.

Now despite this solid cast, the secretive nature of the panel as far as how James’ world opens up rightfully held the audience back. Between the geekiness of Mooney and footage from a film that may seem promising, but still a bit odd, I can only hope Brigsby Bear still finds a way of catching on with a large crowd. Given the positive reception at the Sundance Film Festival, it would seem there are those who are willing to go along with what this film has to offer. That’s a very good thing, as it does find a way to deliver on a strange concept and holding onto a sense of purity.

Brigsby Bear arrives in theaters, in limited release, on July 28th and will hopefully spread wider from there.

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Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Gamer, Comic Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

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