Blockbuster is back! At least in the fictional world, as Canadian actor Madeleine Arthur (Devil in Ohio, To All the Boys I've Loved Before) joins Randall Park, Melissa Fumero and J.B. Smoove in a new Netflix comedy, aptly titled Blockbuster, about saving the last Blockbuster Video store.
Park plays Timmy, a devoted movie lover whose first and only job has been working at his local Blockbuster, and is now the manager. Timmy gets a call from corporate to say that he now manages the very last Blockbuster store, which doesn’t bode well for the future of his job, and the rest of his team.
“Humans need to interact with each other,” Timmy proclaims, comparing Blockbuster to everyone switching to watching movies on a streaming service, (you guessed it) Netflix.
While Timmy loves Blockbuster, that isn’t the case for all his employees. Eliza (Melissa Fumero), a mother who recently found out her husband cheated on her, is quite salty about being back at her high school job after going to Harvard, for a brief time. She's also still Timmy's long-time crush.
There’s "Blockbuster mom" Connie (Olga Merediz), aspiring director Carlos (Olga Merediz), homeschooled highschooler Hannah (Madeleine Arthur), and Kayla (Kamaia Fairburn) whose dad Percy (J.B. Smoove) owns the strip mall where the Blockbuster store is located.
The rest of the series hinges on Timmy trying to save his Blockbuster from it’s grim future, while each episode also touches on more specific comedic issues with some of the store employees, ranging from Carlos upset about the death of the local movie reviewer, to Connie and Kayla thinking Hannah's mom may have been a victim of a local serial killer.
“I grew up going to Blockbuster,... I have really special memories of roaming the aisles of the store,” Arthur told Yahoo Canada about stepping back into a store for the show.
“I love comedy, I was really excited to work with Randall and Melissa and J.B., and the rest of the amazing cast, and the writing is just so funny. After reading the first script, it's so full of heart, created by Vanessa Ramos, and it was just kind of this no brainer.”
Hannah is an interesting character on the show. She’s naive and says things like, she wanted to be a vet but the “language barrier” was too difficult, but we also learn that she’s smart with her personal finances.
“I love playing Hannah, she's very quirky, she's got a really unique sense of humour that was just really fun to dive into and develop,” Arthur said.
“She definitely is an optimist… She's very cheery. She's always well-intentioned, but sometimes she misses the point a little and she loves her coworkers, they're like family, and she really wants to see Timmy succeed and keep Blockbuster afloat.”
The Canadian home of the last Blockbuster
So where did Netflix recreate a Blockbuster store in 2022? Right here in Canada, in British Columbia, in the Vancouver area.
Madeleine Arthur, who’s originally from B.C. but now lives in Los Angeles, took the opportunity to show her Blockbuster co-stars some of her favourite spots.
“It's always nice to go back home and see my friends and family, and then have a cast,” Arthur said. “Some people have been to Vancouver before, some haven't, and getting to show them the city and take them to some of my favourite restaurants,…and I took them snowshoeing and went to the Capilano Suspension Bridge. ... Tyler and I also went to Whistler for the weekend.”
“I tried to show them beautiful British Columbia and what Vancouver has to offer.”
In her career so far, Arthur has been able to take on and develop very different characters.
“That's what I love about being an actor and that's what excites me, getting to go play a character like Mae in Devil in Ohio, where she's dealing with so much trauma, and it's very mysterious, and enigmatic, and then going and playing Hannah, who is also full of emotions that just manifest in a different way,” Arthur said.
“They're totally so different. They tell very different stories and to me, that's what I just hope to keep doing, telling a wide variety of stories and playing a whole bunch of different characters.”
Moving forward, Arthur would love to do something a bit different, a project in French.
“I'd love to do a French movie, I'm gonna keep saying it until it happens,” Arthur said. “I'd love to do an action movie, I’ve recently taken up boxing and I was a gymnast growing up, and I feel like some kind of spy-thriller or just any action would be really fun.”
“Then I'm going to say, like a period piece in the 1600s and also, let's do the 1920s. Basically, I'd like to do it all because I'm young and there's time, and hopefully this is just the beginning.”