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About The Casting
"The Country Bears" features an eclectic mixture of live-action acting talent, voice talent, technical talent and musical talent. One of the unique premises of the film is having a live-action human cast act alongside the bears.

Academy Award®-winning actor Christopher Walken was cast as the classic villain with a twist, playing the banker Reed Thimple.

"I loved having Christopher Walken in the movie," states director Peter Hastings. "He's a true actor and he just jumped in head-first and was completely into it - working with the bears and loving the bears." The cast universally had a blast working with their bear co-stars.

"What I like about it is the bears intermingle with us in a perfectly natural way," comments Walken. "It's like they're some other nationality. Everything is very conversational. It's a wonderful script with a very odd sense of reality to it.

Daryl "Chill" Mitchell and Diedrich Bader portray the bumbling but well meaning policemen, Officers Hamm and Cheets.

"The thing that was really fun about them as a comedy duo, is typically there's the straight guy and the stupid guy," explains Hastings, "but they took turns doing that in the movie – they'd switch off being serious and silly and ended up being a very funny, complementary pair."

Bader has two roles in the film: the speaking voice of Country Bear Ted Bedderhead and the live-action character of Officer Cheets. Already cast as the voice of Ted, Bader was asked to read the Cheets part at the initial table read, since that role had not yet been cast. He was so funny, the filmmakers stopped looking and cast Bader as the intrepid police officer.

"I think it's a delightful exercise to be both a bear and the officer pursuing the bear. I got to chase myself around," laughs Bader.

"I'm lucky enough to have two scenes with Christopher Walken," Bader notes. "My bear character, Ted, has a scene with him and my human character, Officer Cheets, also has a scene with him."

"There are two things that I really appreciated about the script," continues Bader. "One was the sweetness and the other was the surreal quality to it, because nobody ever recognizes the fact that they are talking to a bear. It's just a given that that bears are part of life. There's a whole level of humor that I think parents will really appreciate. It has a sophisticated, real quality to it. We take bears very seriously."

Bader adds, "I also think it's funny that we take the construct of putting the band back together because that's one of the things that is just a huge cliché in movies now. But because it's about bears, it's actually fresh and cool."

Daryl Mitchell also appreciated the tongue-in-cheek nature of the script. "I was a rap artist before I started acting, so I reallyidentify with a lot of the things the bears go through in the music business."

"Working with ‘D' is a blessing," says Mitchell of his co-star, Diedrich Bader. "

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