On Wednesday night in North Hollywood, California, Nerds and Beyond had the pleasure of attending a special screening of Mama Bear (along with several other short films) at the first ever Olympus Film Festival. Director Matt Cohen, writer Lee Ehlers, titular star Mandy Musgrave and many of the film’s other stars were in attendance. The screening was packed and lively and after included a special Q&A for all of the short films. At the end of the evening the Festival’s producers handed out awards and Mama Bear was given the first ever “Zeus Award!”
We were able to ask the star, Mandy Musgrave, a few questions about Mama Bear, her experience developing this as a team with Matt Cohen, her favorite fight scenes, and why she connects so much with the character of Mama Bear. You can see our interviews with writer Lee Ehlers, and co-stars David Hadyn-Jones, Adam Fergus, and Jeffrey Vincent Parise at the festival here.
Nerds and Beyond: This was your first step back into acting. How was it being directed by Matt, and developing this as a team?
Mandy Musgrave: Absolutely wonderful. It was the perfect blend of comfort and excitement. We both knew everything would run smoothly if we supported each other at home and have space on set. We have a respect for one another that has kept us strong for 12 years. Our friendship is always first. I value his choices and he values mine.
Nerds and Beyond: What about the story of Mama Bear did you love the most?
Mandy Musgrave: A mother that had the skills and ability to back up her desire, and the determination to protect the most precious gift in this world. Her child.
Nerds and Beyond: Are there any traits of the character Mama Bear that you relate to the most? Did you draw anything from yourself in your portrayal of her?
Mandy Musgrave: Her determination. Her love, devotion, loyalty and protective nature toward her family. My family is my life. As was hers. We would both give our lives protecting them.
Nerds and Beyond: Which fight scene was your favorite?
Mandy Musgrave: I loved the skylight scene. I actually slipped on glass the first take and bruised my bum. And everyone was worried that it would happen again. But I swore “it won’t happen again. I will be sure footed” The 2nd take is what is in the film. The fight scene with Adam Fergus was by far my favorite scene! We had so much fun practicing the choreography. In our final days of practice we began to actually start landing the punches lightly. We would find out what was causing bruises that could be eased up on or shifted in footwork. It was extremely fun.
Nerds and Beyond: If Mama Bear does go on to a feature or series, what do you hope happens? What would you hope to learn about her backstory?
Mandy Musgrave: I hope that it is a real and raw character whose beauty and strength is found within her devotion to her family. And I hope to learn why she came to taking up such skills, and also why she would ever be with a man as ruthless as her “boss man” ex.
Stay tuned for an extra special interview with Osric Chau at the Olympus Film Festival! Coming Soon!