HBO's star-studded quarantine comedy, Coastal Elites, filmed entirely during lockdown, has an official premiere date: Saturday, Sept. 12 at 8 p.m. ET/PT. Starring Bette Midler, Kaitlyn Dever, Dan Levy, Sarah Paulson and Issa Rae, the 90-minute comedic satire follows five distinct characters as they grapple with politics, culture and the pandemic through monologues.
The film explores the current world of deeply divided politics and the universal pursuit of human connection, and follows the characters as they cope in isolation. Originally conceived for the stage, Coastal Elites transformed into a screen adaptation at the start of the pandemic and as the year unfolded. Filming took place during the summer following social distancing guidelines.
"It provides a type of intimacy that you have a kind of one on one with these characters," executive producer and writer Paul Rudnick explained during HBO's Television Critics Association press tour on Wednesday, adding that he began writing it over a year ago.
The cast spoke about the strangeness of filming Coastal Elites remotely, adding that the process of making the show in the comfort of their own homes was more nerve-wracking than they'd imagined.
"For me, the connection with the other actors [is what I strive for]... Not having that and having Jay [Roach, director] and Paul on a screen far away, mitts of Clorox to open doors..." Paulson recalled. "It was strange and because it had happened deep enough in this time, my paranoia was already high."
Midler (photo above) plays Miriam Nessler, a longtime teacher in the New York City public school system, who loves her students, the New York Times and the theater, and who finds herself in police custody.
Dever portrays Sharynn Tarrows, a young nurse from Wyoming who flies to New York to volunteer at a hospital at the height of the area’s COVID-19 crisis.
Levy plays Mark Hesterman, a young actor in West Hollywood videoconferencing with his therapist at a moment of peak career and personal stress.
Paulson is Clarissa Montgomery, a YouTube personality filming episode 28 of her Mindful Meditations show, hoping to soothe, inspire and heal her followers.
Rae portrays Callie Josephson, a well-connected philanthropist whose prep school network leads her to the highest levels of government.
Coastal Elites debuts Sept. 12 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.
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