coastal elites

The most star-studded group of elites is getting together over Zoom for HBO’s socially distanced comedy Coastal Elites. Created by playwright and screenwriter Paul Rudnick and directed by Jay Roach, Coastal Elites is a scripted quarantine comedy starring Bette MidlerIssa RaeSarah PaulsonDan Levy, and Kaitlyn Dever in a satire that “explores our current world of deeply divided politics and the universal pursuit of human connection.”

HBO announced that the TV film Coastal Elites is set to debut exclusively on HBO on Saturday, September 12, bringing audiences into one of the most star-studded Zoom chats. Originally conceived for the Public Theater in New York, Coastal Elites underwent a massive transformation through the pandemic, evolving “in real time” as 2020 unfolded.

The comedic satire tells “contemporary stories of characters breaking down and breaking through as they grapple with politics, culture, and the pandemic.” Coastal Elites stars Bette Midler, Dan Levy, Sarah Paulson, Issa Rae, and Booksmart breakout Kaitlyn Dever as they all deliver five distinct points-of-view of the shutdown from across the United States, coping with the isolation and frustration in kind.

Here are the character breakdowns for Coastal Elites:

Miriam Nessler (Bette Midler) is a long-time 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.

Sharynn Tarrows (Kaitlyn Dever) is 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.

Mark Hesterman (Dan Levy) is a young actor in West Hollywood videoconferencing with his therapist at a moment of peak career and personal stress.

Clarissa Montgomery (Sarah Paulson) is a YouTube personality filming episode 28 of her Mindful Meditations, hoping to soothe, inspire and heal her followers.

Callie Josephson (Issa Rae) is a well-connected philanthropist whose prep school network leads her to the highest levels of government.

The TV movie is just the latest quarantine content made over Zoom featuring a bunch of stars, but is one of the first major scripted projects that isn’t a reunion special or a table read. With virtually-made feature films making the rounds and now Coastal Elites debuting on HBO, could the Zoom movie become a more common feature in the future? Perhaps, but only as a temporary measure, because as fabulous a performer as Midler is, there’s only so much a monologue can do.

Written by Rudnick and directed by Bombshell director Jay Roach, Coastal Elites was filmed earlier this summer under quarantine guidelines. It’s executive produced by Rudnick, Roach, Jeffrey Seller, Flody Suarez, Scott Chaloff, Michelle Graham.

Coastal Elites debuts September 12, 2020 at 8:00 P.M. ET/PT.

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