25th Anniversary of REALITY BITES at 2019 TRIBECA Film Festival


On Saturday night the Tribeca Film Festival reunited the cast, director, writer and producers of Reality Bites for the 25th anniversary with a screening and talk with Ethan Hawke, Winona Ryder, Janeane Garofalo, Ben Stiller, writer Helen Childress, producer Michael Shamberg, and executive producer Stacey Sher, moderated by journalistStacey Wilson Hunt.  In a fun nod from Ethan Hawke to his character, Troy, Ethan wore a t-shirt with his characters fake grunge band name – “Hey, That’s My Bike.”

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MAY 04: Ben Stiller, Winona Ryder, Janeane Garofalo and Ethan Hawke attend “Reality Bites” 25th Anniversary – 2019 Tribeca Film Festival at BMCC Tribeca PAC on May 04, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)

The packed house broke into cheers when Lisa Loeb surprised everyone at the end of film and stepped on stage during the credits to sing her hit song, “Stay.”

Highlights of the conversation include:

Stiller recalled, “I remember being in the offices and us improv-ing these scenes a little bit and as that happened – and I think I was attached to direct and not act in it – and then somehow somebody suggested – it might have been me – that I should act in it also…It wasn’t until Winona read it and said yes that we had a movie.”

On Ethan Hawke getting brought on to the project: I am not saying the show [The Ben Stiller Show] wasn’t brilliant. Winona made me watch it. I had never heard of it. No one I had met had ever heard of it and Winona wanted me to be in this movie and I was like who is Ben Stiller. You just worked with Scorsese and you are going to work with this clown… I remember sitting watching it and being like…yeah…it’s pretty good I guess.”

The sold-out audience laughed when Stiller reminisced about hearing about Hawke for the first time, stating, “I remember you [Winona] called me….You said you should talk to Ethan….Who is this Ethan Hawke guy …what is he like in Explores…I mean come on.”

Ben apologized for the way the movie “fetishizes smoking,” and Ethan said in shock, “Do you believe I was smoking in a hospital!”

Hawke credited the movie, and specifically Ryder, for helping launch his career. He said, “I’m indebted. Winona believed in me. Winona got me this job. This job changed the trajectory of my career entirely … I’m just so grateful to you, Winona.”

When Winona was asked who she thought her character would end up with, Ryder stated, “She always thought she’d end up with (Garofalo’s character) Vickie!”

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