A new anthology series, Cinema Toast, created by Jeff Baena (The Little Hours) and produced by the Duplass Brothers (Room 104), is due to be streamed on Showtime later this month. The series is described as a postmodern reinvention of older films, turning pre-existing images from the public domain upside down to tell new unique stories. All 10 episodes of Cinema Toast will premier on Tuesday April 20 on Showtime’s on-demand streaming and partner platforms.
The series’ directors include Baena, Jay Duplass, Mel Eslyn, Alex Ross Perry, Marta Cunningham, Aubrey Plaza, Numa Perrier, Jordan Firstman, Kris Rey, and David Lowery. The episodes are voiced by actors such as Alison Brie, Nick Offerman, Fred Armisen, John Early, Christina Ricci, Megan Mullally, Chloe Fineman and Chris Meloni.
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“When the pandemic first hit and all avenues to traditional production seemed unlikely at best, I racked my brain trying to figure out a way to do something else,” Baena said. “That’s when I got the idea to re-synchronize old material and shape it into something transcendent that goes beyond a comedic curiosity.”
Cinema Toast features stories from a variety of genres such as drama, horror, and comedy. Per Showtime, the psychological thriller “Quiet Illness” by Plaza puts together recordings by Loretta Young to create a portrait of an emotionally tortured modern woman, while Cunningham’s “Attack of the Karens” shows how current the classic night of the living dead is when she is is contextualized again this final year in America. In “After the End” Eslyn gives the popular monster film Beast From Haunted Cave a Mumblecore comedy sensibility. And with “Report on the Canine Auto-Mechanical Soviet Threat” Perry creates a surreal journey out of Soviet rarities about a boy who is immersed in a new reality in which talking cars and telepathic dogs live.
Cinema Toast is produced by Duplass Brothers Productions. The series is produced by Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass, Mel Eslyn, Jeff Baena and Tyler Romary. Shuli Harel also serves as a producer.