EXCLUSIVE: Paul Rudd, Jack McBrayer, Amber Ruffin and Paula Pell will lead the cast of Escape from Virtual Island, a new scripted Audible Original comedy series from SNL vet John Lutz and Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video. Scott Adsit, Jane Krakowski, Seth Meyers, Jason Sudeikis, Kenan Thompson, Olivia Wilde and Henry Winkler round out the ensemble cast. Escape From Virtual Island is set to premiere April 2 on the Amazon-owned audio platform.
Written by Lutz (Saturday Night Live, Late Night with Seth Meyers, 30 Rock), in Escape from Virtual Island, Derek Ambrose (Rudd) runs an island resort in 2038 where the wealthy come to live out their wildest fantasies in virtual reality. With the help of his assistant Beasley (McBrayer), lead computer scientist Faith (Ruffin), and head of security Ramona (Pell), the island has been running smoothly since Derek inherited it from his mother. When a high-profile guest suddenly goes missing inside a computer simulation, Derek, Faith, Beasley, and Ramona form a search party to retrieve him. Bouncing between VR environments, the team soon realizes that the computer has become self-aware and is preventing them from escaping back to the real world.
Escape from Virtual Island is executive produced by Broadway Video’s Britta von Schoeler and produced by Austin Breslow. Will Rogers and Ian Stearns are executive producers for Audible.
“This astonishing group of comedy all-stars took a hilarious script and turned it into a wildly imaginative and brilliant series,” said David Blum, editor-in-chief of Audible Originals. “When we kicked off our collaboration with Broadway Video in 2017, we did so with the vision of creating distinctive new Audible Originals with top talent in the business; we’ve been thrilled with the results and we can’t wait for our listeners to join these familiar voices on a wild comedy adventure series like no other.”
“I enjoy creating characters and telling a story through them,” said Lutz. “This Audible format gave me the perfect opportunity to do so. Writing specifically for audio excited and challenged me to come up with unconventional ways to tell a story completely through dialogue and sound. I wrote this story with this cast specifically in mind, and they elevated everything I wrote because they are among the funniest performers alive.”
Lutz wrote on SNL from 2003-2010, and recurred on all seven seasons of NBC’s 30 Rock. He’s been a writer on Late Night with Seth Meyers since the show’s launch in 2014.
Escape from Virtual Island is the fourth installment of Audible and Broadway Video collaborations, following Kate McKinnon and Emily Lynne’s Heads Will Roll, John Cena and Anna Chlumsky’s 64th Man, and Ana Gasteyer and Maya Rudolph’s Holiday Greetings from Sugar and Booze.