10:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Netflix Makes 'Social Distance' Cast a Real Family Affair
Netflix is making the cast of its Jenji Kohan-produced anthology series Social Distance a real family affair.
Orange Is the New Black standout Danielle Brooks will reunite with Kohan in the eight-episode anthology and appear with her real-life mother, LaRita Brooks, and her brother, DJ Brooks, in the eight-episode scripted anthology, which has cast a number of acting (and non-acting) families.
Every episode of the show will tell its own story as the series is set in the initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic. The series takes a look at the power of the human spirit in the face of uncertainty and isolation. The remotely produced series hails from Hilary Weisman Graham (Orange Is the New Black) will pen the scripts and serve as showrunner, with Diego Velasco set to direct and co-executive produce. Kohan and her OITNB team, Tara Herrmann, Blake McCormick and Graham, will all exec produce.
Other family castings include Marsha Stephanie Blake (When They See Us) with daughter Rocco Luna; Daphne Rubin-Vega (In the Heights) and her husband Tom Costanzo and son Luca Costanzo; spouses Heather Burns (Bored to Death) and Ajay Naidu (Office Space); Steven Weber (Wings) with son Jack Hohnen-Weber; Asante Blackk (When They See Us) and her father Ayize Ma'at; Peter Scanavino (Law & Order: SVU) with son Leo Bai-Scanavino; spouses Becky Ann Baker (Girls) and Dylan Baker (The Good Wife); and spouses Raymond Anthony Thomas (The Hoop Life) and Marcia Debonis (Orange Is the New Black).
"Many of these stories required casting actors who were quarantined with other actors. That hurdle seriously hindered our options and so casting non-actors was sometimes essential," Graham said. "It was definitely a roll of the dice, but thankfully, we were thrilled to discover that talent really does breed talent. These family members may not have had aspirations to be in front of the camera when we first started, but they should all quit their day jobs immediately."
Rounding out the cast of the series are: Misha Brooks; Isabella Ferreira (Love, Victor); Oscar Nunez (The Office); Guillermo Diaz (Scandal); Miguel Sandoval (Station 19); Camila Perez (Gotham); Olli Haaskivi (Manifest); Giana Aragon; Mike Colter (Luke Cage); Okieriete Onaodowan (Hamilton); Shakira Barrera (GLOW); Helena Howard (Don’t Look Back); Lovie Simone (The Craft); Max Jenkins (Dead to Me); Brian Jordan Alvarez (Will & Grace); Peter Vack (Love Life); Rana Roy (Life Sentence); Ali Ahn (The Path); Tami Sagher (Orange Is the New Black); Barbara Rosenblat (Orange Is the New Black); Michael Mulheren (Rescue Me); Sunita Mani (GLOW); Kylie Liya Page; Lachlan Watson (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina); David Iacono (Grand Army); Will Meyers (The Village); Niles Fitch (This Is Us); and Ava Demary (FBI).
Picked up straight to series in late April, Social Distance is the latest effort to make the pandemic its own story. Freeform recently aired limited series Love in the Time of Corona, which also cast a number of Hollywood acting couples. Social Distance will air at a date to be determined in the fall.
At the time of the pickup, sources told The Hollywood Reporter that Social Distance will be a shortform series that explores what life is like during quarantine amid the novel coronavirus. Insiders note that producers plan to shoot found-footage style — where every device viewers see visuals from is motivated by story reasons. The audience views the characters as they view their devices. Producers are planning to send what sources describe as a "Blue Apron of production" box to actors in quarantine to shoot their content.