“People have said they thought this year felt like an episode of Black Mirror. Obviously, it’s a very unsettling and chaotic year, and I’m not sure that we personally had the appetite to be making a Black Mirror whilst all of this was unfolding. Personally, all of the shows that I have watched have been wholesome, innocent or funny.
“People definitely need a relief and I hope what Death to 2020 does — and, especially now, with the hope of the vaccine — is give people a sort of cathartic exorcism of the year that was 2020. To look back and recognize the nonsense and chaos and horribleness of it all, but hopefully be able to slightly laugh thinking, ‘That’s over.’” — Death to 2020 creator Annabel JonesSource: Jackie Strause, The Hollywood Reporter
AT A GLANCE:
Black Mirror creators Annabel Jones and Charlie Brooker conceived of their 70-minute standalone special Death to 2020 earlier this summer as a different kind of end-of-year special. Settling on a format that would work best under COVID-era production constraints, Brooker and Jones devised a mockumentary that combines “real-life footage with commentary from fictional talking heads who represent familiar 2020 archetypes,” Jackie Strause writes in The Hollywood Reporter.
The cast includes Samuel L. Jackson as a reporter, Hugh Grant as a history professor, Kumail Nanjiani as a tech CEO, Tracey Ullman as Queen Elizabeth II, Samson Kayo as a scientist, Lisa Kudrow as a conservative spokesperson, Diane Morgan as an average citizen, Leslie Jones as a behavioral psychologist, Cristin Milioti as a soccer mom, and Joe Keery as a gig economy millennial. Scenes for the Netflix special were all filmed separately over the course of a 10-day shoot, with locations split between London and Los Angeles.
In order to deliver the most topical takes possible on the events of the year, production took place at the end of November. Al Campbell directed the U.K. cast and Alice Mathais oversaw the U.S. cast, with Brooker and Jones running both sets remotely via Zoom.
“…Obviously, there are a lot of challenges involved,” Brooker says in the interview. “There’s an aspect of human interaction that is lacking. There are all sorts of technical challenges, since you are relying on 18 different systems rather than one — one person’s Internet goes down and the whole things goes. So there are all sort of logistical, technical and probably emotional challenges involved in it, too.”
Head over to The Hollywood Reporter to read the full story.