In an effort to raise funds to help those most impacted by the pandemic and to help the rest of us stay sane in these crazy times, a group of independent filmmakers, writers and others, along with a troupe of talented actors, have banded together to create Pandemic Players, a series of streamed charity “table reads” of classic films, TV shows, radio plays, and more.
The series launches on Pandemic Players’ YouTube channel on Wednesday, November 25th with Joel and Ethan Coen’s Raising Arizona, headlined by Zachary Levi (Chuck, Shazam!) as H.I. McDunnough and Alison Pill (Star Trek: Picard, Newsroom) as Ed. This first production will benefit *Covenant House. The program is presented “pay what you can,” which consists of clicking through a donations page here. Future episodes will partner with other charities, all benefiting those most deeply affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“Like most creatives we felt powerless as the pandemic raged across the country,” said producer Darren Dean. “We wanted to use our powers for good, which in our case meant calling on our fellow artists to give of their time and talent to raise money for worthy causes and at the same time – we hope – provide some much needed entertainment to our fellow citizens during this terrible time.”
Rounding out the cast are Dean Norris (Breaking Bad) as Nathan Arizona Sr., Clancy Brown (Highlander, The Shawshank Redemption) as Gale Snoats, Macon Blair (Blue Ruin, The Florida Project) as Evelle Snoats, Ross Partridge (The Evening Hour, Billions) and Sarah Clarke (24, Bosch) will read Glen and Dot, while Leonard Smalls, the memorable role originated on screen by Randall “Tex” Cobb will be played by Jeff “The Dude” Dowd. Leila Almas Rose and Jaime Zavallos will play Supercast Members 1 & 2, while Jordana Brewster (CBS’ Lethal Weapon, The Fast and the Furious franchise) will serve as narrator.
Pandemic Players is partnering with a rotating group of charities devoted to supporting frontline workers and first responders; out-of-work artists and service industry employees; minority communities; and others hardest hit by this global disaster, with 100% of all donations going directly to the charities.
The producers plan on releasing new shows roughly every month from November until the end of the pandemic. Future productions include The Breakfast Club and Heathers.
The Pandemic Players’ producers are director/producer Matthew Barber (Disney +’s The Right Stuff, NBC’s Chuck), filmmaker Chris Brown (The Other Kids, Fanny, Annie & Danny), filmmaker Darren Dean (Tangerine, The Florida Project), writer/producer Frederik Ehrhardt, producer and IndieWire.com co-founder Mark Rabinowitz, and writer/producer Myrta Vida.
The Pandemic Players troupe currently includes: Macon Blair, Clancy Brown, Sarah Clarke, Jeff “The Dude” Dowd, Zachary Levi, Dean Norris, Ross Partridge, Alison Pill, Leila Almas Rose, and Jaime Zevallos, with many, many more to be added as we go!