Say what you will about celebrities singing Imagine on Instagram, but they have been providing us with a lot of entertainment during the COVID-19 quarantine. From cast reunion table reads to staged Zoom plays to spoofs on classics — let’s take a look at some of the highlights we’ve been blessed with during quarantine.
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Community Table Read
Community creator Dan Harmon reunited the cast to do a table read of Season 5’s fourth episode “Cooperative Polygraphy”. The table read starred original cast members: Donald Glover, Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Danny Pudi, Yvette Nicole Brown, Alison Brie, Jim Rash, Ken Jeong, with Pedro Pascal as a special guest star.
The Oedipus Project
The Theater of War Productions launched The Oedipus Project, an innovative digital initiative featuring acclaimed actors performing scenes from Sophocles’ Oedipus the King as a catalyst for powerful, healing online conversations about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic upon diverse communities throughout the world. The program featured: Frances McDormand, Oscar Isaac, Jeffrey Wright, John Turturro, Frankie Faison, David Strathairn, Glenn Davis, Marjolaine Goldsmith, and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.
A lifetime ago (in May), Oscar Isaac also joined the cast of CMM Theater’s livestream of Beirut, alongside Marisa Tomei.
The Good Omens stars Michael Sheen and David Tennant have combined forces to launch a new BBCOne comedy called Staged. The series takes on the challenges of creating drama while in lockdown — both on and off the stage. The line-up includes Tennant’s wife Georgia Tennant, as well as Lucy Eaton, Anne Lundberg, Nina Sosanya, and more.
Sheen and Tennant previously teamed up during quarantine for a Good Omens reunion.
Parks & Recreation
The cast of Parks & Recreation reunited to create a thirty-minute episode centered around how our favorite characters were handling their COVID-19 quarantining. Amy Poehler, Nick Offerman, Aziz Ansari, Rashida Jones, Aubrey Plaza, Chris Pratt, Adam Scott, Rob Lowe, Marietta Sangai Sirleaf, and Jim O’Heir reprised their roles. The cast was joined by Nick Offerman’s real life wife, Megan Mullally who returned as Tammy.
The Princess Bride
Quibi launched a hilarious and epic homemade remake of the classic The Princess Bride featuring a wide variety of celebrities. It’s set up like a series with new chapters of the tale being delivered every week on their website. The series goes to benefit the World Central Kitchen and Quibi has donated $1 million dollars, which helped to provide 100,000 meals to feed those affected by COVID-19.
The first chapter, which was aptly entitled “As You Wish,” featured the return of Fred Savage, who previously played the young boy in the 1987 film, this time he portrayed the grandfather, opposite Josh Gad as the boy. Later on, the grandfather is portrayed by the director of The Princess Bride, Rob Reiner.
As the main story progresses, the roles of Wesley and Buttercup are portrayed by Annabelle Wallis, Chris Pine, Common and Tiffany Haddish, Zazie Beetz, and Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas as a gender-swapped version of the couple. Hugh Jackman appears as Prince Humperdink in a rather un-princely homemade costume created with a robe and dim sum steamer for a crown.
One of the most hilarious scenes features Jack Black as the Dread Pirate Roberts being rescued by Diego Luna as Inigo Montoya. The scene confirmed that Diego Luna desperately needs to be cast in more period dramas.
Princess Buttercup, now played by Mackenzie Davis, is kidnapped by Rainn Wilson's Vizzini in Chapter Two: “The Shrieking Eels”. Pedro Pascal portrays Vizzini’s henchman, Inigo Montoya in the most chaotic performance of the role (seriously, I have so many questions about those palm tree shorts). Jason Segel steals the show as Fezzik with his André the Giant impression and puppet Prince Buttercup. Dave Bautista and David Spade are two other big names to join the cast of Chapter Two.
Saoirse Ronan made a surprise appearance with the cast of the popular Irish series Derry Girls, to help raise funds for RTE’s Comic Relief. The series creator Lisa McGeen was joined via Zoom by cast members Jamie-Lee O’Donnell, Louisa Harland, Nicola Coughlan, Saoirse-Monica Jackson, and Dylan Llewellyn under the guise of running lines.
I think it’s safe to say that it’s time to forgive Pedro Pascal for being part of Gal Gadot’s Imagine sing-along and embrace the plethora of content that is being created by celebrities for fans and for a lot of really important causes.
With film sets shuttered for the foreseeable future — this may be how we get new content for many more months!