“Black Bear” writer and director Lawrence Michael Levine says he “experimented with a new technique” while writing his drama starring Aubrey Plaza and Sarah Gadon — which resulted in it going absolutely bats— insane in the second half.
“I experimented with a new technique of writing which was, instead of outlining the whole movie and mapping it out very specifically, I meditated and let images come to me and I put those images on cards,” Levine told TheWrap’s Steve Pond at Sundance. “It was a less conscious and more spontaneous writing process. All those twists and things kind of surprised me while I was writing it.”
Levine said that he wondered the entire time he was writing it about whether he could get away with the crazy story or not.
“I was scared about it working or not, but I guess I was hoping people would want to be along for the ride,” Plaza added. Gadon, however, wasn’t as much of a skeptic.
“I think the challenge was thinking about the movie in two parts and then thinking about the characters in two parts and trying to make some decisions of how we wanted that to work,” Gadon explained. “Usually, when I go into making a movie, you aren’t going to question everything and you have to trust the process of it.”
Levine added: “They were very brave to do the movie — they give very brave performances.”
“Black Bear” also stars Christopher Abbott and follows a female filmmaker who is at a creative impasse and seeks to find answers at a creative retreat, only to find inner demons lurking.
The film premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.
Watch the video above.