Rebecca Asher – Director

Category: Press Pack Article

How did you become involved in Big Mood and what drew you to the project?

I got an email the beginning of October of 2022. That was from my agents that was just like, see below this seems cool. And then once I read it, I was like, Oh my god, first of all, it's in the UK. There was such a series of things that got me interested but I'm like, I get to work in the UK. Nicola Coughlan and Lydia West are in it. I was already leaning towards a yes, but then I read it and I was just blown away. These characters were so rich and funny. It was so funny and smart and also dealing with something that I think is very important in terms of this period in a person's life, this sort of rite of passage of like 20s to 30s and friendships and mental illness. I was like all this stuff is important to make art about in any form.

What is the main theme of the show for you?

The word that comes to my head a lot is survival. Whether it's friendships, or surviving this point in your life. We're dealing with two very close friends who are just turning 30, who think maybe they've figured everything out in their 20s - a lot of us get to out 30s and you're like, Oh no, that was not real life, in my 20s, this is real life. So now you have Maggie, in a particular phase of her bipolar disorder or you have Eddie grieving, and will their friendship survive all this stuff?

What did you like about Camilla’s script?

I love the themes of it. I love the story. I love these characters. Every single character is to me, super well drawn, it doesn't matter how long they're in the show, they're super well drawn. It's dealing with something that's important. Like if you take just the bipolar story alone, it’s a very important story and yet there's an irreverence to it and I love that it doesn't take itself too seriously. It feels real to me in a way that's not trying to educate people about bipolar disorder. It is just literally the story about this friendship and it allows itself to be hilarious at times and then it's not afraid to be dark or heightened or weird sometimes. There’s a fearlessness to Camilla’s writing that I appreciate. She doesn't seem to second guess herself in ways that hinder her telling a story. She’s not afraid to go to broad places in what could be a very real story about this friendship surviving or not. 

What was the tone of the show you wanted to establish and did this change or evolve?

Bojack Horseman was a tonal thing for Camilla in the very beginning. That hooked me in many ways in our first meetings, I May destroy you, Atlanta, Broad City, End of the F*cking World, there were all of these shows that kind of made the same leap that that Big Mood makes - aesthetically and script wise too. These conversations were more about the visual and the tone of the show, and that's sort of where we started from. And when Dan Stafford Clark our DP came on board, we nerded out together over images from a lot of that stuff and then a lot of other stuff like some images from Birdman and Booksmart. We then created two extremes and at any given time when we were shooting, we were shooting almost in percentages between those two extremes depending on the scene or where we were in the story to add either a heightened-ness or grounded-ness. We had all these references, of course, but every Big Mood manages to feel unique to me in some way. Each episode has a very distinct feel.

What was your favourite scene to shoot and why?

There are so many great scenes between Maggie and Eddie, that last scene of episode five, I loved shooting, you'd think I wouldn’t pick such a, I mean, sad is too simple a word but such a sad scene. I loved that scene. They did such a beautiful job in it and the pagan festival was incredible and Candy (Candida Otton) did such a beautiful job with that set. She just took a forest and turned it into this magical wonderland and so did Gabby (Gabriela Yiaxis) with our costume designs. The Love Actually party was bonkers. There’s so much I enjoyed shooting. I feel lucky in so many ways, lucky to have been plucked out of Los Angeles somehow and brought to the UK to do the show. And to go there not knowing anyone and to leave with this experience, and a show I'm really proud of and a slew of brand-new friends. It's really kind of remarkable, I can't tell you how many times in my head I would be looking around going like how am I this lucky? How did I get here?

What do you hope audiences will take away from watching Big Mood?

I hope people have a good time watching it which seems trite but I hope it feels like a ride for them that's satisfying. I hope it makes them laugh like it makes me laugh and cry even sometimes. I hope they fall in love with Maggie and Eddie as much as I have and all the characters around them, their friends. I hope it makes people who are watching it feel seen in a way. I've talked to somebody who's in their 30s - we weren't talking about Big Mood but she was just talking about friendships and how important they are to her, because she just had an experience with a friend where they basically broke up. And she was saying, it's like a breakup. I mean, it's almost worse than a breakup. I was like, this is kind of what Big Mood is about in one way. These are very, very close friendships and can it endure? These friendships are intense, and they have these individual struggles that they're in. I think people will see themselves in these people and maybe be comforted by them. And also be able to laugh with them.