It’s hard to believe that we’ve been in the throes of the coronavirus pandemic for almost seven months, but it seems like most of the world is slowly but surely adjusting to our new normal. Even Hollywood is coming around to the thought of being home for an entire year, inspired enough by our current situation to make pandemic-themed television and film content for our viewing pleasure. HBO is the latest to join the ranks, and its newest offering might just take the edge out of quarantine.
Coastal Elites is a new HBO project that examines the personal effects of the pandemic through a series of celebrity vignettes. Written by playwright Paul Rudnick and helmed by Jay Roach (Bombshell), the satirical presentation follows the striking realities of of five Americans living very different lives amidst the coronavirus outbreak. In the movie, we’ll come across a nurse working on the frontlines of the pandemic, an actor working through his problems in virtual therapy session (same), a liberal fuming over a MAGA hat, a yogi barely holding on by a thread, and a young woman with a curious anecdote about one Ivanka Trump.
Shot from the viewpoint of a person recording themselves on camera — Sarah Paulson's character literally appears to be using a Zoom background at some point — Coastal Elites addresses the apocalyptic events of the past few months with light but relevant humor, making us feel like quarantine hasn’t been all bad.
“I didn’t want the material to feel instantly dated, so I tried to be very careful about references,” Rudnick explained in conversation with Variety. “Things are so crazy that when you think about three months ago it feels like a lifetime and people are almost nostalgic for February. I wanted to reflect that sense of being overwhelmed by every possible event so it would feel emotionally valid at any point. I think it could be working as a time capsule of Americans’ lives.”
The HBO special satire brings together a ragtag mix of actors to bring these unique stories to life; Bette Midler (The Politician), Paulson (Ratched), Issa Rae (Insecure), Dan Levy, (Schitt's Creek) and Kaitlyn Dever (Booksmart) lend their skills and sharp comedic timing to the project. Rudnick and Roach are its executive producers alongside Jeffrey Seller, Flody Suarez, Scott Chaloff, and Michelle Graham.
Coastal Elites will hit HBO on September 12. Check out its strikingly relevant trailer below: