Welcome back, Studio Coffee Folks! As we adjust to a world of isolation and demands for CGI Cats buttholes, the entertainment world carries on. Kevin Bacon and Seth Rogen are tackling the epidemic in their own ways, which we’ll check out first. Then, news out of Cannes as it and BFI cancel and readjust to digital platforms. Winding down, we’ll take a look at how productions like Conan and V2. Escape from Hell carry on safely, within the guidelines to maintain social distance. Spoiler: iPhones and video games. Anyway, we’ll wrap up with two trailers and send you back to – well – the rest of the internet as we all move to work from home (unless you are out in the front lines, in which case The Beat extends a sincere thank you).

Let’s get started!

Kevin Bacon and Seth Rogen take different approaches to coping with COVID-19

For folks who are still wrapping their heads around how vital social distancing is, Kevin Bacon is just the guy to explain. Famous not only for his work, but also for the ‘Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon,’ game, he reminds fans in a short video that we’re all connected by degrees and by staying home, we are stopping the spread of coronavirus and helping to save another human being – and another person someone loves.

On a lighter note, following #ReleaseTheButtholeCut Gate, Seth Rogen entertained the internet by lighting up and watching Cats. Like Rogen, I have also never seen Cats, nor will I ever see the legendary butthole cut – but I can take solace in the hilarity of his thread.

Cannes and BFI go digital as coronavirus forces cancellations

cannes film festival

In more Cannes related news, the film festival has finally cancelled in the interest of public health – albeit with a virtual market. With this alternative, attendees can have as much of a normal experience as possible and screen the films they hoped to in the physical event. The Marche du Film will also offer a 50 percent discount to those using the online-only version.

Executive Director of the Canne Market Jérôme Paillard tells THR “Some or many people will not be able to attend [the regular market], so it is important for them to have the same tools to continue to do business.”

Cannes hoped to save this announcement for a later date, but was pushed by collaborators to reveal the news early due to plans of an alternative online film market being leaked. The online market will take place from May 12-23.

Indies are taking these ideas a step farther. London’s BFI Flare festival was cancelled due to COVID-19, so the LGBTIQ+ film event is moving to a completely digital platform. From March 20–29, attendees can screen the event’s planned shorts and features while those who had tickets already will be given a two-week trial on BFI’s Player service.

At time of writing, available titles include Levan Akin’s Cannes-winner And Then We Danced, Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau’s Don’t Look Down and Daniel Karslake’s For They Know Not What They Do, with more anticipated in the future.

Conan and V2. Escape from Hell will shoot remotely to keep production going

conan o'brien covid-19
Photo by Gage Skidmore and Wikimedia Commons.

Over the past few years, Apple has bragged about the high quality cameras used in its phones and that’s been proven as various films employ them in lieu of traditional cameras. That practice is becoming a step more mainstream as Conan adopts the mobile camera. Meanwhile, V2. Escape from Hell employs the use of video games, LED screens and remote directing.

Most late night talk shows moved to no studio audiences, but Conan is moving to no studio period. The crew, as well as Conan O’Brien himself, will be working remotely with guest interviews taking place over video chat and new episodes airing on TBS as soon as Monday, March 30. It’s good news for fans who were informed earlier that the show was planning to go on hiatus.

timur bekmambetov
Photo by Gage Skidmore and Wikimedia Commons.

Russian director Timur Bekmambetov (Unfriended, Searching) is doing the same with his upcoming war feature, V2. Escape from Hell. Actually, they’re not doing the same. They’re doing a bit more as today, as you’re reading this, a full air battle scene is being shot with star Pavel Priluchny in a cockpit as LED screens surround him, playing footage from the video game War Thunder as the actor pilots a plane in-game and battles other players. While this happens, Bekmambetov will direct remotely. And, if you’re really curious, you can watch the whole thing go down thanks to a live cast of the shoot.

V2. Escape from Hell was unique even before the coronavirus adaptations. It’s the first movie to exist in a vertical format – yes, specifically for phones – as well as horizontal. Bekmambetov says this approach is part of a purposeful design geared for GenZ. It releases in theaters and on mobile in 2021.

Two trailers, lots of bad choices

From Lionsgate, Arkansas stars Vince Vaughn, Liam Hemsworth, Clark Duke, John Malkovich and Vivica A. Fox. In his directorial debut, Duke and Hemsworth play two drug runners under the employ of Frog (Vaughn), a kingpin they’ve never met. They’re kept under watch by two of Frog’s cronies (Malkovich and Fox) – and for good reason. Over time, they became lax on Frog’s orders and even strike out on their own, only to become inadvertent enemies to the very organization they work for. In spite of corona concerns, Arkansas will hit a few theaters on May1, but will also be available on Apple, Amazon and other platforms same-day.

The afterlife is digital in Greg Daniels’ newest series, Upload. It’s an Amazon Original set in a near future where anyone on the brink of death can upload their consciousness into virtual reality. That’s exactly what happens to Nathan (Robbie Amell), following an almost fatal car accident. From the looks of things, the show will follow the oddities around living as a virtual entity and the ever-encroaching influence of technology on our daily lives. The series also stars Andy Allo and is set to hit Prime on May 1.

That’s a wrap for this week. Stay home and stay safe – I’ve gotta go finalize my To Read/Watch/Play list, but we’ll catch you back here next time!