Showtime has ordered a new anthology series, Cinema Toast, created by Jeff Baena (The Little Hours) and produced by the Duplass Brothers (Room 104), set to stream later this month. The series is described as a post-modernist reinvention of older movies that turns pre-existing imagery from the public domain on its head to tell new unique stories. All 10 episodes of Cinema Toast will premiere on Showtime’s on-demand streaming and partner platforms on Tuesday, April 20.
Directors of the series 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 including Alison Brie, Nick Offerman, Fred Armisen, John Early, Christina Ricci, Megan Mullally, Chloe Fineman and Chris Meloni.
“When the pandemic first hit and all paths to traditional production seemed unlikely at best, I racked my brain to find a way to still create,” said Baena. “That’s when the idea hit me to re-dub and re-shape old material into something transcendent that extends beyond just a comedic curio.”
Cinema Toast features stories spanning genres including drama, horror and comedy. Per Showtime, Plaza’s psychological thriller “Quiet Illness” pieces together footage of Loretta Young to create a portrait of an emotionally tortured modern woman, while Cunningham’s “Attack of the Karens” shows just how timely the classic Night of the Living Dead is when re-contextualized within this last year in America. In “After the End,” Eslyn injects the beloved monster movie Beast from Haunted Cave with a mumblecore comedy sensibility. And with “Report on the Canine Auto-Mechanical Soviet Threat,” Perry creates a surreal journey from Soviet rarities about a young boy who is immersed in a new reality inhabited by talking cars and telepathic dogs.
Cinema Toast is produced by Duplass Brothers Productions. The series is executive produced by Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass, Mel Eslyn, Jeff Baena and Tyler Romary. Shuli Harel also serves as producer.