Rise and Shine

Mike Birbiglia on getting 'Sleepwalk With Me' made

Rise and Shine

"Mike Birbiglia is rumpled and groggy, having just been roused from a midmorning nap on a sofa in the lobby of the Driskill Hotel." That was the first impression of The Austin Chronicle's Melanie Haupt when she interviewed the first-time writer/director in March, when he screened his film Sleepwalk With Me at the 2012 South By Southwest Film Festival. (See "Hurts So Good," March 16, 2012.) His sleepy demeanor was especially apropos considering the film in question was inspired by Birbiglia's real-life troubles with a sleep disorder. He adapted the film from his off-Broadway show and bestselling book; public radio listeners will recognize some of the funny, melancholic material from Birbiglia's appearances on This American Life. (TAL's Ira Glass co-wrote the script and pops up briefly on camera.)

"We were developing this for a while with a larger company, and I'd written like 12 drafts of it and made so many changes," Birbiglia said of Sleepwalk With Me's long, fraught journey from page to screen. "The Hollywood model is to develop scripts for 10 years, sell them, transfer them, attach this actor, then attach a director. This isn't what I'm about. I'm much more of a creator and a doer. I'd much rather try and fail than talk about trying."

Sleepwalk With Me opens in Austin this Friday; see Film Listings for showtimes and review. You can read Haupt's interview with Birbiglia here.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

SXSW Film Releases Full Feature Lineup
SXSW Film Releases Full Feature Lineup
Slate includes everyone from Wes Anderson to the Zellners

Monica Riese, Jan. 30, 2014

Mindy Kaling Comes to SXSW
Mindy Kaling Comes to SXSW
The comedian and showrunner will speak March 9

Monica Riese, Jan. 21, 2014

More by Kimberley Jones
She Said
The journalistic investigation of Harvey Weinstein gets the rage but not the tension

Nov. 18, 2022

We Have an Issue: Where the Wild Things Are
We Have an Issue: Where the Wild Things Are
What's going on at Texas Memorial Museum?

Nov. 18, 2022


Mike Birbiglia, Sleepwalk With Me, Ira Glass, This American Life

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle