Did you invent an iconic product in the 80s and 90s? Does your product have a wild story behind it, interesting characters, and a tone ripped from the headlines? Then you’re about to get a movie version! At least, that’s how it feels these days, between ‘Air’, ‘Tetris’, ‘BlackBerry’ and now ‘The Beanie Bubble’ by Kristin Gore and Damian Kulash.
The latest feature film in this burgeoning sub-genre follows the making (and, in many ways, AND-making) of the mid-1990s worldwide obsession with Ty, Inc.’s adorable (and highly collectible) Beanie Babies. Sarah Snook as the three key women in his life who Truly helped make little toys such a huge hit.
Case in point: Viswanathan’s character’s idea to create a Ty, Inc.-backed webpage for the Beanie Baby faithful, good marketing that forever changed the trajectory of both toys and the way brands communicate on the World Wide Web. Check out the scene, available exclusively on IndieWire, above.
“This is one of the scenes that really got me excited about doing the film in the first place because teaching Zach Galifianakis how to use the internet felt so epic,” Viswanathan told IndieWire during a recent interview. “To get to time travel at a time when I had to convince someone that the internet had the potential to be a big deal, (that) it was really cool and fun to imagine that scenario. I’m a mid-90s kid, so I’m a little behind, but experimenting with dial-up and web pages has been very interesting. Plus, I think it’s one of the funniest scenes in the movie, so I appreciate it on many levels.”
The scene also offers a closer look at Galifianakis’ turn as Warner, a darker and more complicated role than most audiences have seen the actor in previously. Much of Gore and Kulash’s film focuses on busting the myths around Warner, initially seen as the mastermind behind the wildly successful Beanie Baby line, but someone who truly relied on the work of others to bolster his business.
“It’s such a different thing for Zach, I think everyone is pretty confused by him without a beard,” Viswanathan said. “When you think of Zach Galifianakis, a very clear image comes to mind, a very clear tone and style. He’s such a comedic genius, so I think casting him in this role was so smart because you’re so disarmed by him. He’s so charming and the character had to be (also). You will see him transformed and tap into the darkest parts of himself. And you are confused. Are you rooting for him? It is not true?
“The Beanie Bubble” will premiere in select theaters on July 21 and worldwide on Apple TV+ on July 28. Watch the exclusive IndieWire clip above and stay tuned for more from our interview with Viswanathan.