Mike Birbiglia in Sleepwalk with Me
Sleepwalk with Me is about how a serious sleep disorder has affected the career and relationships o comedian Mike Birbiglia. He already told the story through his stand-up act; a one-man play produced by Nathan Lane; as part of The Moth storytelling series; a segment on This American Life; and a book. The full-length movie is co-directed, co-written, and starred by Mike Birbiglia.
The comedian said that Sleepwalk with Me is also an album that’s available on iTunes and Spotify. There are some stories that didn’t make it to the movie, such as the time he went to Alaska with his sister and they encountered a bear. It was expensive to shoot which is why it was not included in the movie.
There’s also the story about a tumor in his bladder when he was 19. It went away but he had to go for a cystoscopy every six months. It was a painful procedure where the doctors stick a rod through the urethra to look into the bladder. That didn’t fit the flow of the movie as well.
As the story went from one form to another, it strayed away from his real life. This is why he changed the character’s name to Matt Pandamiglio. The parents’ names were not Vincent and Mary Jane Birbiglia but Frank and Linda Pandamiglio in the movie. They are played by James Rebhorn and Carol Kane.
He said that he changed the name but not in a way that people will forget that the story is based on real events about his sleepwalking. He said that Matt Pandamiglio is the perfect metaphor for what they did. They got something true and changed things to make them more convenient.
Sleepwalk with Me is set in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Birbiglia said that when he started out, there were no storytelling events in the area. Now every bar has them.