America remains in the grips of COVID-19 with cases back on the rise after a brief late summer dip, and the White House is signaling a lack of interest in getting the pandemic under control. A normal American hears that and probably gets a little scared, but Michael Bay is no normal American. He hears “movie pitch,” so he’s produced Songbird, directed by Adam Mason. It’s our first (though likely not last) pandemic thriller, and imagines the U.S. on year four of a lockdown with a mutated COVID-19 virus now called “COVID-23.”
The line between “timely thriller” and “poor taste cash grab” is pretty thin, and it’s hard to tell on which side of the line this movie will fall. The cast features K.J. Apa, Sofia Carson, Bradley Whitford, Alexandra Daddario, Craig Robinson and Paul Walter Hauser. That’s a pretty talented group, to be honest, and it was no mean feat to get them all together to shoot in Los Angeles during the early days of lockdown. But Bay pulled it off. This is probably the tightest turnaround of a real-world-headline-to-blockbuster-movie in Hollywood history, but they don’t call these “unprecedented times” for nothing.
The trailer for Songbird sure makes it look like it’ll explore the themes of a repressive government overreaching in its attempts to get a pandemic under control, which may not be the most responsible message to deploy in an era when people are pointing to facemasks and church service restrictions as signs of creeping Big Brother. But then, social responsibility has never been a huge factor in a Michael Bay film. Whatever your thoughts, the movie is “coming soon.” We don’t have a release date yet because, well, the pandemic — the actual one that inspired the movie in question — is still going on.
Tyler Huckabee is RELEVANT's executive editor. He lives in Nashville with his wife, dog and Twitter account.