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Filmmaking Faces Pandemic Challenges, So Hollywood Keeps Coming To Podcasts.

Tim Robbins is becoming the latest Hollywood star to make the move into podcasting. He is producing a satire podcast called Bobbo Supreme that originally was designed to become a feature film until the coronavirus pandemic upended those plans.

Robbins told Variety that “The Big Short” writer and director Adam McKay originally wanted to release the feature film ahead of next month’s election, but when the pandemic made that impossible to secure funding or to shoot a movie they turned their attention to a podcast.

Robbins worked the phones to recruit other actors to his project. He will play the title role of Bobbo. Other cast members include Jack Black, Isla Fisher, Alfre Woodard, Ray Wise, Ted Levine, Patton Oswalt, Kerri Kenney-Silver, Tom Lennon, Rita Brent, Haley Joel Osment, Riki Lindhome, Maribeth Monroe and Sasheer Zamata.

Robbins said they recorded the podcast from three-dozen locations during four days. The five-episode series is produced by Starburns Audio and Chipp Lou Productions.

“We were juggling a lot of different time zones, but we figured it out,” Robbins told the magazine. “We had people recording from Utah, New York, Los Angeles, Georgia. They were in broom closets, living rooms, bathrooms — just wherever they could get a signal.”

Robbins is known for his progressive political leanings, and that is reflected in Bobbo Supreme. The podcast is about a billionaire president who fights to be re-elected. “It’s definitely Trump. But it’s the Trump behind the scenes — the one from the unsourced reports of him belittling aides and behaving in an even more narcissistic fashion,” said Robbins. A critic of the current administration, Robbins said he concluded comedy was the best way to respond to the President.

“It’s what autocrats fear most,” Robbins said in the interview. “Satire and humor gives us a deeper understanding of what’s going on in our world. It’s also important as a great release for people who are trapped in a cycle of news that is despairing and hard to listen to.”

Robbins’ journey into podcasting isn’t unique. Big Money Players Network Head of Content Hans Sahni said last month that podcasting benefits when content creators want to test a story concept in an easier and less expensive medium before investing in a film or television series.

“It’s easier on the production end to make a podcast, and the listenership and the audience is there for podcasts more than it ever was for YouTube web series or an indie comic book,” said Sahni. “It’s a proving ground for ideas, and at the same time it’s great content on its own and it never becomes a TV show or movie. You can still make something that’s still really satisfying and be really creative without compromising on it too much.”

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