On Saturday night the Tribeca Film Festival reunited the cast, director, writer and producers of Reality Bites for the 25th anniversary with a screening and talk with Ethan Hawke, Winona Ryder, Janeane Garofalo, Ben Stiller, writer Helen Childress, producer Michael Shamberg, and executive producer Stacey Sher, moderated by journalist Stacey Wilson Hunt. In a fun nod from Ethan Hawke to his character, Troy, Ethan wore a t-shirt with his characters fake grunge band name – “Hey, That’s My Bike.”
The packed house broke into cheers when Lisa Loeb surprised everyone at the end of film and stepped on stage during the credits to sing her hit song, “Stay.”
Stiller revealed that he was originally brought on board only to direct, but after improv-ing the scenes, it was thought he could be in the movie as well. “Somehow somebody suggested – it might have been me – that I should act in it also…It wasn’t until Winona read it and said yes that we had a movie.”
It wasn’t officially a “movie” until Winona signed on, and it was Ryder who convinced Ethan Hawke to get involved. Hawke said he wasn’t sure how he felt about working with Ben Stiller- he had never heard of him before, but Ryder told him to watch The Ben Stiller Show. “I am not saying the show wasn’t brilliant….I had never heard of it. No one I had met had ever heard of it and Winona wanted me to be in this movie and I was like who is Ben Stiller. You just worked with Scorsese and you are going to work with this clown… I remember sitting watching it and being like…yeah…it’s pretty good I guess.”
Stiller tagged back, saying to Winona “I remember you called me….You said you should talk to Ethan….Who is this Ethan Hawke guy …what is he like in Explores…I mean come on.” He later apologized for the way the movie “fetishizes smoking” and Ethan said in shock, “Do you believe I was smoking in a hospital!”
On a more serious note, Hawke credited the movie, and specifically Ryder, for helping launch his career. “I’m indebted. Winona believed in me. Winona got me this job. This job changed the trajectory of my career entirely … I’m just so grateful to you, Winona.”
When Winona was asked who she thought her character would end up with, Ryder stated, “She always thought she’d end up with (Garofalo’s character) Vickie!”
Watch the entire talk and the clip of Loeb singing her hit song below.