Sleepwalking with the Stars

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A burgeoning stand-up comedian struggles with the stress of a stale career, a boring relationship, and the wild spurts of severe sleepwalking.
Photo Credit: IFC Films
August 2nd, 2012

Sleepwalking with the Stars

-- "Sleepwalk With Me" is an upcoming alternative comedy film written, directed by and starring popular American comedian, Mike Birbiglia.

Based on Birbiglia's one-man, off-Broadway show, the film tells the story of an aspiring comedian who suffers from a debilitating condition that causes him to act out the events in his dreams while remaining asleep.

In denial about his disorder, his crumbling career and failure to maintain a healthy relationship with his girlfriend, he begins to experience increasingly dangerous, yet hilarious, incidents of sleepwalking. Birbiglia suffers from just such a condition in real life.

Birbiglia plays the main character in the movie, Matt Pandamiglio. In addition to "Sleepwalk With Me," Birbiglia has starred in three Comedy Central specials and released three albums of his comedy material. He is also the author of Sleepwalk With Me & Other Painfully True Stories, published by Simon and Schuster in 2010, which reached the top 30 of the New York Times Bestseller List.

Matt's girlfriend, Abby, is played by Lauren Ambrose, best known for her role on the funeral parlor drama series "Six Feet Under." She played the character Claire Fisher for 63 episodes and was twice nominated for an Emmy in the Best Actress in a Supporting Role category. Ambrose also appeared in the fourth season of the British science fiction drama "Torchwood."

Since making her Broadway debut in 2006, Ambrose splits her time between acting for film and theatre. She is set to star as Fanny Brice in the Broadway revival of "Funny Girl," a role originally made famous by Barbra Streisand. Ambrose also provided the voice of the monster known as K.W. in the 2009 Spike Jonze film "Where the Wild Things Are."

James Rebhorn, who plays Gary in "Sleepwalk With Me," has one of the most familiar faces on television. Tall and gangly with intense features, he is often cast as a villain, overbearing father or corrupt politician.

Redbhorn has had recurring roles in television shows such as "Law & Order" and the daytime soap "Guiding Light." He has also appeared in numerous hit films, including "Meet the Parents," "Regarding Henry" and "The Game." He has also appeared in "Seinfeld," "Independence Day" and "The Talented Mr. Ripley."

The character of Linda is played by Carol Kane, best known for her many appearances in the television series "Taxi," in which she played the wife of the Latka Gravas, as portrayed by the late Andy Kaufman. Kane received two Emmy Awards for her work.

Kane began her career in the 1970s and was nominated for an Academy Award for her role in "Hester Street," a story of Jewish immigrants living in New York during the last years of the 19th century.
In a varied career, Kane has appeared in numerous hit comedy films including Woody Allen's "Annie Hall," "The Princess Bride" and "Scrooged." She has also made guest appearances in television shows such as "Two and a Half Men," "Ugly Betty" and "Seinfeld." Kane has also won praise for her work in the theatre, particularly for her portrayal of the evil headmistress Madame Morrible in the Broadway production of the musical "Wicked."

Best known for her work on "30 Rock," Cristin Milioti also stars in "Sleepwalk With Me," playing the role of Janet. Just 26 years old, Milioti has only recently started to become known for her film and television work, having first achieved high praise for her work in Broadway theatre.

Milioti starred in "That Face," a comedy play by Polly Stenham, and was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her work on "Once."

Alongside these familiar faces, "Sleepwalk With Me" also features a number of performances from the best of the current crop of stand-up comedians. This adds to the authenticity of Birbiglia's story, as well as ensuring the laughs come thick and fast throughout.

Though he is not a household name by any means, "Sleepwalk With Me" looks set to propel Birbiglia to a new level of fame, thanks in no small part to its stellar supporting cast and engaging storyline.

The film is co-directed by Seth Barrish, an actor and writer who has appeared in the television dramas "Damages," "Law & Order," "Sex and the City" and "The Sopranos."

"Sleepwalk With Me" had its premiere at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and has been met with widespread critical praise. The film won the Best of NEXT Audience Award. It will go on general release on August 24, 2012.