Ever wonder what films inspire Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings star, Simu Liu? How about Orange is the New Black’s Laverne Cox? Panoptica Director Samuel Miron knows the answer as he has directed Google TV’s Watch With Me, an ongoing series that spotlights entertainers, artists, and cultural icons, sharing the shows and movies that have influenced them and their careers.
Working with agency Cashmere, the series gives a behind-the-scenes look into these celebrities’ stories inspiring viewers with a curated watchlist of shows and movies that can be accessed on Google TV.
“The concept was, ‘What if all of the categories and suggestions for what to view on Google TV were curated by celebrities in the form of an interview, with links, so you could instantly watch them?’” shares Miron. “As someone who won’t shut up about cinema, having an assignment that required me to talk about movies and shows with these really interesting talents was a dream.”
The celebrities who were tapped to contribute to Watch With Me were asked to reveal not just their personal favorites, Miron notes, but also influential titles they feel everyone should watch, “either because they’re important and carry an impactful message or because they’re simply so entertaining we’d be fools not to. And it was interesting, as our interviews unfolded, to see how often these categories overlapped, how the best of the best films and shows affect us personally, have an impactful message, and are undeniably fun to watch.”
Miron’s preparation for the shoot was immersive; he was provided with each celeb’s watchlist selections about a month in advance and made a point of screening everything on it.
“It was amazing diving into their lists, not only to learn about all of these films but also because watching through someone’s list tells you so much about the people themselves,” he notes. “It was a fascinating way to learn about them and see how the titles tied into their histories and identities.”
In one episode, actress and LGBTQ advocate Laverne Cox gives us an inside look at the passions and inspirations that have fueled not only her career as an actor but also her own personal voyage as a transgender Black woman. In the five-minute film, Laverne ponders and shares just what her Watchlist says about her, as she recounts her favorite Whoopi Goldberg role and other hit features and TV series that have each impacted her in different ways.
Acclaimed comedian Hasan Minhaj’s Watchlist selections reflect his own experiences growing up as a first-generation American-Muslim, pointing to TV shows and movies that influenced his life and career, as well as a Chris Rock standup special, which inspired him to become a comedian.
“TV and movies are an opportunity to show people things they’ve never seen before,” says Minhaj, and he proves it, with a list ranging from Bollywood standouts to classic American rom-coms. Films like this, he points out, “hit all the core emotions that families and human beings just deal with.”
In another episode, actor Simu Liu (Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings) shares his love for musicals, and their power to transport viewers into a different world. He also shares his acting inspirations and expresses his desire to push the Asian American lived experience in more meaningful ways.
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“I hope people remember what I stood for,” says Liu. “Greater than just a name for myself. It’s a platform through which I can affect positive change in the world.”
“It was a total pleasure working alongside both the Cashmere and Google teams and the collaboration had a really supportive feel,” concludes Panoptica Founder Hughes William Thompson. “Given the long-term nature of the campaign, it was a rare treat to be able to continuously refine our creative and production approaches with Cashmere and Google’s guidance. Our goal was to keep optimizing our resources and find ways to create more and more space for our talent to settle into the Google TV world and speak authentically. And I think the final product shows that we accomplished this with flair.”
To watch the upcoming episodes, click here.
CLIENT: Google TV
- Consumer Marketing: Ashley Lu, Stephanie Vaky
- Brand Marketing: Charlotte Van Der Smeede, Tibby Iz
Influencer Relations: Cashmere Originals
PRODUCTION COMPANY: Panoptica
- Director: Samuel Miron
- Founder: Hughes William Thompson
- Executive Producer: Roan Bibby
- Producer: Antonio Martinez
- Editor: Fred Fouquet
- Assistant Editor: Ruben Proenca
- Editing company: Little Farm
- Editor: Erwin Fraterman
- Assistant Editor: Herbert Moran
- Executive Producer: Therese Hunsberger
VFX Artist: Thom Reimerink
MUSIC: Shaun Jacobs/Loki Entertainment
STILL PHOTOGRAPHY: Day Reps
- Photographer: Koury Angelo
- Producer: Lyudmila Zotova