Rebooting the holiday classic: Meet the new ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ cast
We all need a little extra holiday joy this Christmas season. While we don’t know why anyone thinks “Pete Davidson” when in the mind of Christmas joy, someone decided to add him to the cast of It’s a Wonderful Life anyway.
Since COVID-19 has made it impossible for anyone to film a formal Christmas special this year, actor Ed Asner is rebooting the classic It’s a Wonderful Life with a new cast. The A-list cast for the table read includes Davidson, Maude Apatow, Ellie Kemper, B.D. Wong, and Carol Kane, among other “special surprise guests”, according to the press release.
Like most virtual table reads, the cast is coming together to perform It’s a Wonderful Life to benefit the Ed Asner Family Center. While you can buy just regular tickets to the live stream, special packages are available for those looking to pay it forward this holiday season – in the generous spirit of It’s a Wonderful Life.
Accidental Christmas icon
In case you’ve never heard the story of how It’s a Wonderful Life became the long-standing Christmas classic it is, hold onto your seat. When the film made its debut in 1946, It’s a Wonderful Life was a box office & critical failure. Director Frank Capra was seen as a failure and fell from grace.
For years, the film was forgotten about – until the 1970s. American TV stations were desperate for content, and since It’s a Wonderful Life entered public domain, TV stations could broadcast it for dirt cheap. So they began playing it on repeat during the holiday season.
It’s a Wonderful Life was played so much that people began to fall in love with the story, and the film quickly gained popularity. Now, it still remains a staple of the TV schedule once December rolls around. Surprisingly, there has yet to be a remake of the classic film, though it has been parodied a million and one times. Ed Asner’s table read is the closest the film has gotten to a remake.
Reviving the classic with a new cast
Ed Asner’s new special brings the magic of It’s a Wonderful Life with a new cast, presented as a table read of the original film. Pete Davidson is tapped to play leading man George Bailey, and Maude Apatow will portray Violet Bick, the woman who nearly ruins her social life if it weren’t for George.
The full cast announced so far includes Ellie Kemper, B.D. Wong, Carol Kane, Ed Begley Jr., Richard Kind, Bill Pullman, Mia Farrow, Michael Shannon, and Diedrich Bader. While unannounced, Asner teased “surprise guests” to appear during the table read as well.
Charity for the season
All proceeds from the ticket sales will benefit the Ed Asner Family Center, a charity dedicated to mental health & enrichment programs for children with special needs. Programs run by the Family Center include Camp Ed, a summer camp for children with special needs, free online enrichment videos during COVID-19, and virtual counseling opportunities.
If you’re interested in watching the live-streamed table read, you can purchase tickets from $50 to $250. If you’re willing to make a big donation to the Ed Asner Family Center, you can grab yourself a retro Ed Asner shirt, a signed copy of The Greatest Gift (the book It’s a Wonderful Life is based on), and more goods.
In the true holiday spirit, the Family Center is even offering the option to “pay it forward”, whereby you can buy one $50 live stream ticket to be given away on the center’s social media accounts. Ed Asner is encompassing the true meaning of Christmas and It’s a Wonderful Life by using this star-studded table read as a fundraiser for charity.