The Bear’s Ayo Edebiri Reveals How The Episode She Directed Was Chosen And Why The Gig Meant So Much To Her

 Ayo Edebiri in The Bear.
Credit: Frank Ockenfels/FX

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The Bear has been a brilliant spotlight highlighting the immense acting talents of star Ayo Edebiri – who has earned widespread acclaim for her role as Sydney Adamu – but in Season 3, the show gives her a different opportunity to showcase her special skills. She makes her directorial debut with the sixth episode of the new run, titled "Napkins, and unsurprisingly, it's one of the best of the bunch. It's a new hat for her to wear in the industry, but it doesn't seem as though it's going to be the last time she dons it, as she apparently loved the experience.

During a recent press conference for The Bear Season 3 (which is now available to stream with a Hulu subscription), Ayo Edebiri was asked about her first time in the director's chair, and she gushed about the opportunity and her collaborators. Said the actor-cum-director,

Directing was a blast. I really loved it. It’s like a dream to get to work with our crew as an actor. And so then, I guess by extension of directing that feeling was only amplified. I was just so impressed and so moved every day. And then, I got to direct some of my favorite actors in the world, and it just felt like a bit of a master class but also a gift. I was just in the best circumstances of... truly just masters of their craft beside me, and I just felt so lucky. I was kind of like this is maybe the best job in the world? Or tied for first place, at least, with the one of acting. Yeah, so it was really wonderful.

SPOILER WARNING: The rest of this article contains light spoilers for The Bear Season 3. If you have not yet watched episode 6, proceed at your own risk!

The episode "Napkins" specifically focuses on the backstory of Liza Colón-Zayas' Tina Marrero and how she ended up working at The Beef. Beginning in 2018, we re-meet Tina as she gets laid off from her job and goes on the hunt for new employment. She faces rejection everywhere she goes, but she finds herself wandering into The Beef and has a wonderful meeting and conversation with Mikey Berzatto (Jon Bernthal).

It's a story that provides wonderful insight into Tina as a character and should make rewatching early seasons of The Bear interesting as we have a deeper understanding of her loyalty to Mikey and the classic way that The Beef operated under his leadership.

As for how Ayo Edebiri ended up helming that specific episode, she noted that making her directorial debut is something that she had discussed with showrunner Christopher Storer prior to Season 3. She also noted that she wasn't the only special guest filmmaker for the run:

We’re lucky enough to read all the episodes as actors beforehand, and we’d been talking about it for a while. And I know that he had one in mind, and I think he and the other producers, like Joanna [Calo], had talked about it a bit, about how the episodes would be distributed. Because I wasn’t the only guest director this season. Our AD, Duccio Fabbri, also directed an episode.

Continuing, Edebiri said that the producers had an idea who they wanted to direct which episodes, but when it came to the idea of having her take "Napkins," they were very much on the same page. She said,

I think they had in their minds who would go where a little bit. But then we had a conversation, and he was like, ‘Which scripts are you responding to’ And I was like, ‘I would literally give you my firstborn child, who does not exist yet, if I could do the Liza episode, because I would love to work with Liza in that way.’ And then, he was like, ‘Well, we have nice little parallel thinking.’ So, yeah.

It certainly worked out well, and this surely won't be the last time we hear about Ayo Edebiri exercising her talents behind the camera.

As noted, all 10 episodes of The Bear Season 3 are now available to stream, and to learn about what else is coming to the small screen in the weeks and months ahead, be sure to consult our 2024 TV Premiere Schedule.