A number of projects featuring big-name talent have recently been filmed from home, proving that even a pandemic can’t stop the industry from moving forward. And there are many upcoming ones in the works as well. We’ve collected a roundup of recent titles that fit the bill so that you can add them to your watch lists and learn more about productions that are happening in safe ways during COVID-19.
Love in the Time of Corona
Freeform has an upcoming COVID-19 drama cleverly entitled Love in the Time of Corona, a limited series that will be filmed remotely in the actors’ actual homes. Virtual productions began June 29, and the series is slated to debut in August. Love in the Time of Corona will center on four interwoven stories related to developing relationships in the midst of quarantining. One of the narratives will center on the characters of James and Sade, a couple that has to take a hard look at their priorities, as well as their relationship, thanks to the pandemic. The on-screen pair will be respectively played by real-life partners Leslie Odom Jr. and Nicolette Robinson, who are also executively producing the series. Another narrative in the series will feature real-life spouses Gil Bellows and Rya Kihlstedt, as well as their daughter Ava Bellows, who play a family quarantining together. Other actors attached to the limited series include names like Tommy Dorfman, Rainey Qualley, and L. Scott Caldwell.
The Princess Bride
Quibi’s at-home fan film of Rob Reiner’s 1987 classic The Princess Bride not only incorporates more diversity into its reprisals of the well-known characters, but it’s also contributing to a pandemic-related cause. According to Deadline, Quibi has given $1 million to World Central Kitchen thanks to the at-home fan film, contributing to the organization’s work of distributing meals to people most affected by COVID-19. Jeffrey Katzenberg’s short-form streaming platform started releasing chapters of the made-at-home movie on June 29, and its cast list of A-listers runs deep. You can see them taking turns providing their at-home interpretations of the film’s iconic characters during various plot points. Couples like Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner, as well as Common and Tiffany Haddish, are just a few names to note that give their takes on the iconic characters of Westley and Princess Buttercup throughout various “quick bites” of the film. There are entirely too many big names involved with the project to list here, but we will say that David Oyelowo gives a standout performance as Humperdinck, riding in on a golf cart that doubles as his horse. And keep an eye out for Reiner’s role in front of the camera for this iteration of The Princess Bride, as well as for Fred Savage’s reprisal of his character from the original.
On June 30, Netflix released a collection of short films made by filmmakers from around the world while in isolation. IndieWire calls Homemade, “pure filmmaking talent in bite-sized pieces that doubles as a lively, scattershot collage of the world in 2020.” There are some familiar A-list actors that have gone behind the camera for their contributions, such as Maggie Gyllenhaal and Kristen Stewart. And you can hear Cate Blanchett’s voice in the piece by director Ana Lily Amirpour. Besides these household names, you can also experience the work of an impressive roster of international filmmakers. One on that list who especially stands out is Blinded by the Light director Gurinder Chadha. Her short film in Homemade includes her son’s narration about the tragic loss of Chadha’s mother to COVID-19. It’s housed amongst other poignant entries by filmmakers who are continuing to create art through the challenges of this time.
Six Feet Apart
Major streaming services such as Netflix and Quibi aren’t the only ones pulling off at-home productions. Director Jessa Zarubica wrapped production on her indie feature Six Feet Apart in late June, which was filmed almost entirely remotely from actors’ homes. The rom-com centers on two neighbors who get to know one another thanks to the pandemic. Chris Candy and J.J. Nolan star as the lead characters living in the same apartment building who fall for each other while maintaining a safe distance. Candy told The Hollywood Reporter that there was a clear benefit of acting in a production of this nature, which involved him taking on a lot of additional responsibilities like doing his own wardrobe and makeup. “Since there was so much going on, I highly doubt there will be any overacting going on,” he noted.
These projects, as well as a number of other productions that are moving forward in the midst of the pandemic, might be a source of inspiration for those uncertain of how the industry will progress moving forward. And the projects born out of this time may end up delivering more impactful messages than some of their predecessors. For example, Zarubica talked with The Hollywood Reporter about an important idea that viewers can derive from Six Feet Apart. “There was always this invisible belief in our safety and when that’s torn away, we can see the value in each other and we can see the value in the things that matter.” And while Vizzini of The Princess Bride may disagree, we think the idea that COVID-19 may be inspiring more appreciation for one another on- and off-screen is far from inconceivable.