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Laura Blum

Laura is a festival correspondent covering films and the festival circuit for She also publishes on Thalo



“Brigsby Bear”: Interview with Director Dave McCary

It’s a mainstay of the screenwriting rulebook that a protagonist must undergo special change. But such rules are meant to be broken, and Brigsby Bear, the winsome first feature from Dave McCary, makes the case for non-conformity. That’s because James, the man-child at the center of the story, remains true to who he is while the surrounding characters embrace his quirks and trace the bolder transformative arc.

There’s a reason for James’ tenacity. We meet him in the last stretch of his bizarre coming of age with the couple (Mark Hamill and Jane Adams) who abducted him at birth. Holed up in a bunker, where he has lived ever since, the tender youth is fixated on a fantasy series called Brigsby Bear Adventures. It stars a talking toy bear -- think Teddy Ruxpin on growth hormones – and twin sisters (Kate Lyn Sheil) who battle a nefarious planetary being. James has never seen another show, nor has he encountered real humans besides his presumed mom and dad.

At least not until law enforcement storms the premises and James is reunited with his biological parents (Matt Walsh and Michaela Watkins). Suddenly his world includes a sister (Ryan Simpkins), a social worker (Claire Danes, a detective (Greg Kinnear) and his first-ever friend, digital artist Spencer (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.). It’s a lot to absorb.  

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