Coastal Elites, written by Paul Rudnick, was originally conceived as a stage play for the Public Theater. However, the COVID-19 pandemic forced it to take on a different form: a film, directed by Jay Roach.
The movie tells the stories of five different people — all living in Los Angeles or New York, hence the title — who are coping with the pandemic in their own ways. The starry cast includes Bette Midler, who plays a New York City public school teacher who ends up in police custody (in the trailer, she speaks with anger about a certain red hat, which may give you a clue as to why she’s in custody); Sarah Paulson as a YouTuber; Issa Rae as a philanthropist whose work brought her into contact with some unpopular political figures; Kaitlyn Dever as a nurse who travels from her home in Wyoming to New York City in order to help fight the pandemic; and Dan Levy as an actor under severe stress.
What sets the film apart from other movies coming out right now is that it was filmed entirely remotely. If you’re curious as to what a remote production looks like, take a look at the new trailer.
Coastal Elites premieres on HBO on Sept. 12 at 8 p.m.