Director, Writer, Producer, Actor
Joey Kern studied at New York University where he earned a BFA in Drama. He then went on to train at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. His professional acting career began on the New York stage with various companies including the Atlantic Theater Company, The New Group, Second Stage and Theatre for a New Audience, where he played the title role of Troilus in Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida directed by Sir Peter Hall. BIG BEAR marks his directorial debut. He directed the film from a script that he wrote himself. Recently he’s focused on film and television becoming a series regular on the TNT drama “GOOD BEHAVIOR” alongside Michelle Dockery. Kern plays Rob the new stepfather to Michelle even though they went to high school together.
On the film side he starred in the horror comedy BLOODSUCKING BASTARDS with Pedro Pascal and Fran Kranz. The film centers around a call center office that becomes infiltrated with vampires hired to create more productive undead employees. Gaining great reviews it was often liked to Shaun of the Dead meets Office Space. In the film world Kern made a name for himself with such movies as SUPER TROOPERS (one of the highest grossing independent films of all time), Grind, Eli Roth’s first film CABIN FEVER, and THE SASQUATCH DUMPLING GANG starring alongside Justin Long.
TV credits include “SEX AND THE CITY”, “PARTY DOWN”, “WORKAHOLICS” and “KEY & PEELE”. Online his video “50 Shades of Hey” went viral and has over 1.5 million views. He can also be seen in many videos produced by Will Ferrell’s Funny or Die.
A few years ago I was engaged to be married. The wedding was only a few months away when my fiancé abruptly broke off the engagement. Everything was quickly canceled except for my bachelor party. People had bought plane tickets. The house was rented. I reluctantly had no choice but to go ahead with my bachelor party even though I wasn’t getting married anymore.
I was embarrassed and petrified. But it wasn’t until spending a weekend in the woods with my closest friends at my now defunct bachelor party that I came to realize I didn’t want to marry her either, I was just too big of a coward to see that.
I thought this excruciating experience would make for a perfect comedy! Thus, Big Bear was conceived. I wanted to tell the story of someone who goes through the most embarrassing event he can imagine only to discover that it was exactly what he needed.
The film is through Joe’s POV and since his world has suddenly been turned upside down the characters and events thrust at Joe are a bit askew. Like an odd medical marijuana obsessed cop, or when a stripper wielding his own belt makes Joe feel like Uma Thurman being stabbed with an adrenalin shot in Pulp Fiction.
Most challenging are Joe’s three friends: Erik, Colin and Nick. They each represent a different phase of a breakup; Nick is the voice that says, “You’re hurting? Get drunk. You’re going to get so wasted you won’t remember the pain.” Colin represents sex; “You’re free to fuck anyone you want now! Let the animal loose and when you’re done you’ll be glad you’re single.” And Erik is revenge; “Someone else is responsible for this pain, we’re going to find him and make him pay.”
Ultimately, these options leave Joe hung-over, embarrassed and the accomplice of a kidnapping. It’s not until he’s challenged by the most unlikely character, the dude his fiancé left him for, that Joe realizes the only person who can free him from the pain is himself.
Big Bear is a very personal story that I believe is relatable not just for anyone who’s ever gone through a breakup but for anyone who’s ever realized that we can only free ourselves from our suffocating struggles by facing the bear head on.
Joey Kern - 2017