What: A surreal short film about what happens after celebrities die.
Who: Dominic Burgess and Alfred Molina.
Why we care: Every time a celebrity’s name trends on Twitter, it usually means they’re cancelled–either because they did something ill-advised or were literally cancelled from life. Dead. Those few seconds between seeing the name dominate the trends list and finding out why can be a torturous roller-coaster ride, but the aftermath by now should feel familiar. A beloved celebrity in trouble because of their own misdeeds is sure to ignite a powder keg of vitriol, but one who meets an untimely demise produces the opposite: an outpouring of intensely personal grief. The latter gets dissected in the new short film, Sam Did It.
In the eight-minute short, Sam (writer/director Burgess) is a morgue worker getting ready to slice up the latest cadaver when he discovers that the body belongs to none other than Alfred Molina, his personal fave. It’s the way the news of the Wild Fang 2 star’s passing hits Sam that brings home the themes of this piece. Sam reacts as though he’s just lost a member of his own family, which sort of makes sense in this context: Seeing your idol laid bare before you escalates the emotional factor of celeb mourning exponentially. That Sam’s grieving sounds not dissimilar to hundreds of thousands of strangers digitally mourning the loss of, say, Frasier’s John Mahoney should resonate with anyone who spends a lot of time online.
As the curated video hub Short of the Week notes, Burgess and Molina met on the set of Ryan Murphy’s Feud, where Burgess pitched Molina his idea. Molina agreeing to be in the short at all only further shores up the universal lovability that makes him the perfect avatar of a perhaps over-grieved dead celebrity. (Seriously, any ancient gods paying attention: Please protect Alfred Molina at all costs.)