Before speaking to Mark Hamill, I reached out to Rian Johnson, the director of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, to ask for any advice or possibly some kind of icebreaker. Johnson responded that none would be needed because Hamill is a “snow cone of pop culture knowledge.” As it turns out, this is an extremely true statement. I am now convinced that Mark Hamill just might know everything.
Hamill is at Sundance in support of Brigsby Bear, a wonderful, sometimes weird, often sweet film from the mind of Kyle Mooney and Kevin Costello and directed by Dave McCary. Mooney (to whom we spoke as well; that interview will run later this week) stars as James Pope, a man who was abducted as a child (Hamill plays the father who abducted him) who has just returned to his real parents. James is shocked to learn that his only popular culture touchstone, a show called Brigsby Bear, isn’t real. It’s an entire series filmed by his captors just for James. Now in the real world, James wants to bring Brigsby Bear to others by making a movie.
I met Hamill on a very snowy day just off Main Street in Park City, Utah. He really is as nice and cordial as you would ever expect. Through the course of this interview we somehow covered his new film, Eight is Enough, Saturday Night Live, One Day at a Time, The Big Red One, Fernwood 2 Night, The Empire Strikes Back, and of course Hamill’s feeling on the new title, The Last Jedi.
(Also: I’m not even going to pretend I haven’t been preparing for this interview almost my entire life.)
I reached out to Rian Johnson before talking to you, he assured me this would be fun.
Oh, yeah. And I’m all for no prep. I like spontaneous and having the conversation go wherever you want.
Had you met Kyle Mooney at all before this?
No. I mean, I knew him from Saturday Night Live, but not personally.
When you read the Brigsby Bear script, was it something you felt you needed to do? It’s a very clever movie.