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Showtime has ordered the anthology series “Cinema Toast” from creator Jeff Baena and executive producers the Duplass brothers.
The series is described as 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. It will feature the voices of actors like Alison Brie, Nick Offerman, Fred Armisen, John Early, Christina Ricci, Megan Mullally, Chloe Fineman and Chris Meloni. Directors include Baena, Jay Duplass, Mel Eslyn, Alex Ross Perry, Marta Cunningham, Aubrey Plaza, Numa Perrier, Jordan Firstman, Kris Rey and David Lowery. Showtime has ordered 10 episodes, which will premiere all at once on Showtime on-demand streaming and partner platforms on April 20.
Episodes will cover a range of genres, including horror, comedy, and drama. 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” shows just how timely the classic “Night of the Living Dead” is when re-contextualized within this last year in America. In “After the End,” Eslyn injects the beloved monster movie “Beast From Haunted Cave” with a mumblecore comedy sensibility. And with “Report on the Canine Auto-Mechanical Soviet Threat,” Perry creates a surreal journey from Soviet rarities about a young boy who is immersed in a new reality inhabited by talking cars and telepathic dogs.
“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” is produced by Duplass Brothers Productions. The series is executive produced by Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass, Eslyn, Baena and Tyler Romary. Shuli Harel also serves as producer.