The COVID-19 pandemic has put a damper on basically everything in the entertainment industry, but the small sparks of joy available in its midst are worth celebrating—especially when they involve one of the Coen brothers’ funniest films. Continuing a year-long trend of star-studded table reads, the Pandemic Players (a troupe of creatives looking to bring some levity to the lockdown) are putting on Joel and Ethan Coen's Raising Arizona with Zachary Levi and Alison Pill in the lead roles.
Levi, who participated in a Chuck table read in April, will take on Nicolas Cage’s H.I. McDunnough while Pill, who did an anniversary read of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World in July, will play Ed. The pair (which are already inspired casting) will be joined by supporters including Dean Norris, Clancy Brown, Macon Blair, Ross Partridge, Sarah Clarke, Jeff Dowd, Leila Almas Rose, Jaime Zevallos, and Jordana Brewster. It’s hard to believe Norris, Brown, and Blair weren’t already in Raising Arizona to begin with, honestly.
This premiere production from the Pandemic Players will go up on their YouTube channel on November 25 and support the homelessness nonprofit Covenant House —with every cent of donations going directly to the charity. We get to hear Pill yell, “Gimme that baby, you wart-hog from hell!” AND help those in need. Win-win.
“Like most creatives we felt powerless as the pandemic raged across the country," said producer Darren Dean in a release. "We wanted to use our powers for good, which in our case meant calling on our fellow artists to give of their time and talent to raise money for worthy causes and at the same time—we hope—provide some much needed entertainment to our fellow citizens during this terrible time."
Future shows (including The Breakfast Club and Heathers) look to benefit a rotating group of charities as they’re released on a monthly basis until the pandemic ends.