A girl invites a costumed stranger off the street to her older sister’s dinner party. The mysterious man simply called ‘Bob’ seems friendly enough… What could possibly go wrong?

Things get uncomfortably weird when Spongebob makes an unwelcome appearance at a dinner party. Directed by Drew Bierut, ‘Bob’ toys with the question “what would happen if you brought a complete costumed stranger to a costume party”? The answer is something fun and spontaneous with an animated twist, in a story that explores personal emotions and expectations. The cast (including Bob) formidably delivers a meshing performance that leaves a lasting impression. Almost like a really good Spongebob meme. We spoke with Drew who gave us a little more insight on the film.

Can you tell us what inspired you to bring this story to life?

The opening scenario is based on a true story actually. The writer and co-producer of the film once attended a party where someone boldly invited a random Jack Sparrow off the street to be their +1 to a party… That story ended differently than ours did. In true pirate fashion, the Jack Sparrow guy stole some stuff and fled the scene.

So Bob really started as a silly “what if” … What if a similar spontaneous invitation resulted in something completely different? What if it’s ok to roll the dice on a complete stranger? What if it’s more interesting to toss out predictability? And instead usher in some fun chaos?

After all, you should never judge a book by its cover. And you should also only ever judge a sponge by its inner Bob!

Why Spongebob?

Not only is he a top meme and icon, he feels like a familiar friend. Additionally, his cumbersome boxy nature makes him an interesting obstacle. He takes up a lot of space in a given camera shot, and he occupies a lot of space in the minds of the other characters as well.

How did you go about casting for ‘Bob’?

Hannah, played by Emma Pasarow, is a friend of Dan Brier, the film’s screenwriter. We thought the lead role made a lot of sense for her, and we were extremely thankful that she had so much fun playing Hannah.

On the other side, Bob, played by Dillon J Stücky, is a friend of mine. I’ve admired his acting for a while but never had the opportunity to collaborate with him on a film until this project. Dillon’s physical acting style and his can-do attitude made him the perfect fit for Bob. It gets hot inside of that box and it’s nearly impossible to see in there! It was important to have someone I trust take on that role, and he delivered big time.

Roy Allen plays the creepy drunk guy in the film’s opening. He’s an incredible character actor, and I try to cast him in zany roles whenever I can.

We used a casting service called breakdown express and received hundreds of taped auditions for the other characters. For the film’s antagonist, we loved what Talia Rose Goodman brought to the role of Julia. We also couldn’t stop laughing watching Michael Bonini’s audition for Grant. A strong table read demonstrated their chemistry and sealed the deal for us. Can’t wait to work with both of them more in the future!

As a writer/director are you open to changes or suggestions when you start shooting or do you like to stick to what has been written?

We were open to a certain amount of ad libbing and improv. But most of the moments for experimentation happened during the table read and rehearsals. Once it’s time to roll, everyone’s on the same page for how the lines will go.

The animated scene was something that we invented after playing around with the film in post. We wanted to add some more emotional gravitas to that moment. We reached out to an animator who goes by WillyMonka. It’s one of my favorite scenes now, she absolutely crushed it!

What has this film taught you about filmmaking?

It taught me that your film is only as good as the team behind it. You must surround yourself with the right allies on both the cast and crew side – and that includes your specialists involved in the post-production effort.

What do you hope people will take away from Bob?

I hope it will demonstrate the importance of keeping an open mind. It’s critical to maintain a child-like quality to our identities. Because we are lost when we lose our sense of “play.”

What are your favorite films?

My favorite movies really run the gamut. Peter Weir’s The Truman Show will always own the top spot in my heart. But I also love wild trips like Gaspar Noé’s Enter The Void. Silly feel-good flicks like Galaxy Quest. Heady but hearty movies like Pixar’s Inside Out. From childhood, Empire Strikes Back really activated my desire to do movies. And more recently, I was absolutely floored by what Dennis Villeneuve did with Dune.

What are your favorite short films?

Probably the original Whiplash. But I love popping on any and all shorts to get inspired or discover something new. I think it’s an under-loved format for the people not directly involved with them.