Ostensibly, Mistaken for Strangers is a documentary about the beloved indie band The National, but the film ultimately proves to be more about the relationship between two very different siblings than the group itself. It’s a surprising, funny, and honest film that should please fans of the band as well as those who have never heard of them.
Inverting the formula of turning plays into films, Mistaken for Strangers is being adapted into a stage play and Funny or Die has exclusive video of the show’s rehearsals, which you can watch above. Mistaken for Strangers: The Play stars Cheers alum Ted Danson as National frontman Matt Berninger and his Bored to Death co-star Zach Galifianakis as his younger brother Tom, a metal-head amateur filmmaker who joins The National’s road crew.
Although Danson may not look a whole lot like Matt Berninger (Galifianakis is a dead ringer for Tom), the two thespians appear to have a creative dynamic that closely mirrors their onscreen counterparts. Danson is poised, professional, and polished, while Galifianakis, though well-meaning, always seems to be a bit over his head.
Thankfully for the actors, the Berninger brothers are on hand to help them with rehearsals, including the film’s signature scene when Matt makes his way through the crowd during a performance as Tom pulls the cable for his mic. Clearly, Danson and Galifianakis are committed to their roles as they listen with rapt attention to their respective counterparts as they explain the nuances of crowd-walking and cable-pulling.
It’s not yet clear when or where Mistaken for Strangers: The Play will be opening, but based on the clip above, it is clear that both actors are gunning for Tony Awards. Should they win, it would put both entertainers halfway to their EGOT, as Danson already has two Emmys for his work as Sam Malone on Cheers, while Galifianakis won the 2001 Academy Award for his performance in the snowboarding comedy Out Cold.
Mistaken for Strangers is now available for rental and purchase. Following their summer tour through Europe, The National will play the First City Festival in Monterey, California on Aug. 24.