Showtime will premiere anthology series Cinema Toast, a rethinking and reworking of older movies, April 20, with all 10 episodes available that day. Jeff Baena created the series and the Duplass brothers, Jay and Mark, produce. All episodes will be available on Showtime’s on-demand streaming and partner platforms.
Showtime calls the series “a post-modernist reinvention of older movies that turns pre-existing imagery from the public domain on its head to tell brand-new unique stories.” Directors include Baena, Jay Duplass, Mel Eslyn, Alex Ross Perry, Marta Cunningham, Aubrey Plaza and Numa Perrier. The episodes are voiced by actors including Alison Brie, Nick Offerman, Fred Armisen, John Early, Christina Ricci, Megan Mullally, Chloe Fineman and Chris Meloni.
“When the pandemic first hit and all paths to traditional production seemed unlikely at best, I racked my brain to find a way to still create,” said Baena. “That’s when the idea hit me to re-dub and re-shape old material into something transcendent that extends beyond just a comedic curio.”
Cinema Toast touches on drama, horror and comedy. Plaza’s psychological thriller “Quiet Illness” pieces together footage of Loretta Young to create a portrait of an emotionally tortured modern woman, while Cunningham’s “Attack of the Karens” tweaks Night of the Living Dead to touch upon the last year in America. In “After the End,” Eslyn injects monster movie Beast From Haunted Cave with what Showtime calls “a mumblecore comedy sensibility.”
Cinema Toast is produced by Duplass Brothers Productions. The series is executive produced by Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass, Mel Eslyn, Jeff Baena and Tyler Romary.
Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.
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