The Cast of ‘That Thing You Do’ Is Hosting a Watch Party Following Songwriter Adam Schlesinger’s Death

Virtual watch parties have been around for a while, but they’ve never been more popular than in the time of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The cast of the ’90s film That Thing You Do! are the latest to announce this kind of event. Here’s what you need to know about it, including its ties to the recent death of musician Adam Schlesinger.

‘That Thing You Do!’ was released in 1996

'That Thing You Do' cast
‘That Thing You Do’ cast | Frank Trapper/Corbis via Getty Images

For those who are unfamiliar, That Thing You Do! was a comedy musical that came out in 1996. The movie marks Tom Hanks‘ directorial debut. He also had a role in the film as Mr. White, a record executive who helps launch the Oneders (pronounced Wonders) to fame.

That Thing You Do! stars Tom Everett Scott, Johnathon Schaech, Steve Zahn, and Ethan Embry as four bandmates who go from small-town musicians to pop icons overnight in the 1960s. Though the story is fictional, many comparisons can be made to other groups of the era, especially the Beatles.

Songwriter Adam Schlesinger passed away in 2020

While the film was not a major box office success, it did receive a lot of praise for the titular theme song. Songwriter Schlesinger was nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for Best Original Song for “That Thing You Do.” Sadly, he passed away on April 1, 2020, due to complications from coronavirus (COVID-19).

Hanks, who recently recovered from the virus himself, tweeted, “There would be no Playtone without Adam Schlesinger, without his That Thing You Do! He was a One-der. Lost him to Covid-19. Terribly sad today.” Playtone was the name of the record label in the film, and later became a real company founded by Hanks.

They’re having a virtual reunion and watch party

In the wake of Schlesinger’s death, many have been singing his praises. Now, the Oneders themselves are (virtually) reuniting for a rewatch party, held over Zoom and broadcast live on YouTube. The event takes place on Friday, April 17, 2020.

In addition to watching the film along with the stars, there’s a good cause at the heart of it all. Throughout the broadcast, they will be raising money for the MusiCares Coronavirus Relief Fund, which supports those in the music industry who have been affected by the crisis.

Who all will be participating?

Fittingly, Guy Patterson (Scott), Jimmy Mattingly (Schaech), Lenny Haise (Zahn), and the bass player (Embry) have all shared the event on their social media accounts, confirming their attendance. Liv Tyler, who played Faye Dolan, is also said to be part of the Zoom call.

What about Hanks? A fan asked this question on Twitter, to which Scott replied, “There will be other guests…” So while there’s no official word yet, given Hanks “hosting” duties on the April 2020 Saturday Night Live at-home special, he is probably game for another virtual appearance.

Scott answered fan questions ahead of time

Scott, who currently stars in the truTV series I’m Sorry, has been answering some fan questions on Twitter ahead of the event. He confirmed that they will be watching the original theatrical release of the film, which is 108 minutes long, as opposed to the extended director’s cut.

The actor also explained the reasoning behind the tribute to Schlesinger. “We wanted to honor him and thank Tom and give the fans something wicked and snappy during this time. And hopefully raise lots of presidential flashcards for charity,” Scott added, the last sentence a reference to a line from the film.