From the creative team of Rick Copp (The Brady Bunch Movie) Joe Dietl (The Thin Pink Line) and Ben Zook (Jack and Jill) comes “Where the Bears Are,” a comedy mystery web series that follows the exploits of three gay bear roommates living together in Los Angeles, as they attempt to solve the murder of a party guest that turned up dead in their bathroom.
Part “Golden Girls” and part “Murder, She Wrote,” the series consists of 25 four-minute episodes, and is a romp through L.A.’s trendy neighborhood of Silver Lake, and whose mystery eventually reaches it’s climax in the desert outside of Palm Springs.
Featuring guest appearances by Bruce Daniels, Tuc Watkins, Jackie Beat, Brooke Dillman, Loretta Fox and Shawn Pelofsky, the series is designed to appeal to both gay and straight audiences alike, and will premiere online August 1st, 2012 at wherethebearsare.tv
Larry Dean Harris: I’m speaking with the creators and stars of the new web series, “Where the Bears Are,” Rick Copp, Joe Dietl, and Ben Zook. Guys, tell me how this whole project came into being.
Joe Dietl: Well, Ben and I have been life partners for 18 years. We’re both actors, writers and directors. And, we’ve been friends with Rick for 13 of those years.
Ben Zook: And, I’m a graduate of Chicago’s Second City and a founding member of “The Annoyance Theatre”. Joe is a graduate of “Circle in the Square Theatre School.” And, Rick is a veteran writer of dozens of TV shows and feature films like “The Brady Bunch Movie.”
Rick Copp: And, the three of us had always wanted to team up and do something together. I actually had two feature scripts that I wrote that Joe wanted to direct, but we had trouble getting financing due to the financial crisis in ’08. So, we decided to do something extremely low budget that we knew we COULD get made, and the idea was hatched while we were all sitting in my Jacuzzi in Palm Springs drinking.
Ben Zook: Yeah, Rick is an amazing writer, and he had the concept for “Where the Bears Are” for quite awhile, and we all realized that we could do it on a low budget and get it made and on the web quickly, and basically nobody could say “no” to us.
Rick Copp: Very much like a Mickey and Judy “let’s put on a show” sort of thing. And, I actually wrote for “The Golden Girls” when I was 24 years old, and this is basically “The Golden Girls” meets “Murder, She Wrote” about three bears living together in Silver Lake in Los Angeles, who attempt to solve the murder of a party guest that turned up dead in their bathroom.
Joe Dietl: And, I just wanted to focus on directing the series, so at first we thought we would cast actors, but then we realized, we’re all actors and we already have a chemistry between the three of us, so let’s just cast ourselves.
Ben Zook: Basically, I’m the “Dorothy,” Joe is the “Rose,” and Rick is the “Blanche.” It’s the “Golden Girls” meets “Murder, She Wrote” with big, hairy gay bears!
Rick Copp: The series is made up of 26 four-minute episodes, and it’s going to feature guest stars like Tuc Watkins from “Desperate Housewives,” comedians Jackie Beat, Bruce Daniels, and Shawn Pelofsky. So, it’s really fun. You’re in, you’re out, it’s quick, with a lot of laughs and a mystery thrown in as well. It’s also totally free. We just want everyone to watch.
Joe Dietl: There’s also a lot of hot eye candy in the show, as well as romance thrown in too. And, the whole thing has been just a really positive experience because everyone donated their time and talent for free because we had so little money. But, we had an amazing crew, and a really funny, sexy, terrific cast, and I think people will be shocked at the quality of the series, considering it’s low budget.
Ben Zook: Joe and I actually purchased our own high def camera and equipment so we wouldn’t have to rent it. And, everything happened really quickly. Rick wrote the script in a matter of a couple of months. He turned it in on a Wednesday. We gave him notes on Friday. We had a casting session on Sunday. And, began shooting on that Monday. It was crazy, but really fun.
Larry Dean Harris: You all have a quite an improv background. Did you use improvisation during the shoot?
Joe Dietl: Actually, Rick has written several mystery novels so the script was pretty tight. And, it was already very funny. But yes, because of our background we threw in a lot of improvised moments when we shot the show.
Rick Copp: We also really wanted to make the neighborhood of Silverlake in Los Angeles be a character as well. So, most of the series takes place at different locations in the neighborhood… “The Eagle L.A.” “Akbar” “Sunset Junction” etc. Everyone in the community was totally supportive of the project and let us film for no money. They’ve all been amazingly generous.
Ben Zook: I also want to mention that the show has an awesome theme song by the group, “The Temperamentals.” It’s really catchy and fun, and everyone in the bear community is going to LOVE it.
Rick Copp: Obviously, the gay bear community is our target audience. But, the show really appeals to all gay people and even straight audiences, too. Like I said, it’s “The Golden Girls” meets “Murder, She Wrote.” What group of people WOULDN’T love that?
Joe Dietl: The show premieres online August 1st, 2012 at wherethebearsare.tv. You can also “like us” on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to follow the progress and get extra behind the scenes updates on what’s happening with the show.
Larry Dean Harris: Thanks, guys. I look forward to checking it out.