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Actor Josh Gad is spending quarantine by reuniting the casts of his favorite nostalgic movies — but the project is not self-serving. Gad's digital series "Reunited Apart," has brought together the stars of "Back to the Future," "The Goonies" and "Splash" — and each episode benefits a different charity.
"When lockdown started, I felt really at a loss of what I could do to help others, because I sort of fell into a deep depression," Gad told CBS News.
The dad of two said he used to go to his daughter's school every Friday and read books to the kids. When schools closed, he felt robbed of that. So, the "Frozen" actor started to read to kids online.
"After a while, I felt so blessed to have that opportunity, but also started to realize a lot of other personalities had started doing the same thing," Gad said.
Gad also wanted to raise money for important causes to have wider impact.
So he created "Reunited Apart," which spotlights a different charity each week. The episodes have helped promote charities like Project Hope and Dig Deep.
On Sunday, Gad premiered a special episode to reunite the stars from "Lord of the Rings." Elijah Wood, Orlando Bloom, Ian McKellan, Viggo Mortensen, Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan were among the cast members who joined Gad — via Zoom.
On the reunion episode, Mortensen revealed he was nervous before shooting the trilogy and Andy Serkis admitted that he was reluctant when his agent told him he would just be a voice in the film. The actor, who portrayed iconic character Gollum, joked that he was advised not to take a role where his face wouldn't be on screen.
Orlando Bloom and John Rhys-Davies recreated a scene between their characters, Legolas and Gimli, complete with props. This prompted other stars on the Zoom to recreate other "Lord of the Rings" scenes — and share the costumes and props they took home from the movie set.
Gad also used the episode to announce a very big donation to No Kid Hungry, a national campaign focused on ending childhood hunger in America.
Gad said he raises $20,000 an episode, but fundraising for Sunday's episode got a big boost:
Cheerios made a $1.3 million donation to No Kid Hungry, which Gad revealed on the show.
The star said he was "ecstatic" about the contribution, which "could help those children, who right now don't have the resources that frankly my kids take for granted."
"Simple things like getting a school meal for lunch, which in many cases is the only meal that they have during the course of a day. That is fundamentally a right that everyone deserves and I was so thrilled that Cheerios felt the same basic instinct that I did and wanted to team up and collaborate and raise as much money as possible," Gad continued.
Gad and Cheerios are also promoting the "CheerRing"campaign, which motivates others to share their own inspirational messages and spread positivity on social media using the hashtag #GoodGoesRound. "That to me feels like something that provides light at a time when there's so much darkness in this world," Gad said.
Gad said all he's ever hoped for "Reunited Apart" is to not only bring positivity, but make a difference and inspire people to give back. "I can honestly think of no better way to serve as an entertainer right now than by both doing my job to entertain and hopefully activating people at home to do what they can — and only if they can, because I know people are struggling, I know it's a big ask."
Gad said no donation is too small and anything can make a difference.
"At a time when we're locked in our homes and the world seems like it's on fire — literally and metaphorically — that's all I can do, and I know that," Gad said. "I'm not a doctor, I'm not somebody on the frontlines...but what I can do, what I'm damn well trying to do, is to bring a sense of joy, nostalgia, hope, purpose and hopefully to make a difference."