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Alex Zane started recreating homemade movie scenes with his daughter, 5, while in quarantine, finding fans on Instagram with Tot_for_Tot_Remakes page

By Benjamin VanHoose
February 01, 2021 12:05 PM
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Father-daughter duo remakes iconic movie shots at home in quarantine
Dirty Dancing
| Credit: Moviestore/Shutterstock; Courtesy Tots_for_Tot_Remakes

This father of two found the perfect solution for quarantine boredom — creativity!

Alex Zane and his 5-year-old daughter Matilda have amassed quite the following on Instagram (36,000 followers and counting) with their Tot_for_Tot_Remakes account, in which the child stars in homemade recreations of the most iconic movie scenes. It all started as a fun time-killer while stuck at home, Zane tells PEOPLE, though it quickly morphed into a popular household project.

"When quarantine occurred my wife Jacqueline and I found ourselves quarantined at home full-time with two little kids," says the Massachusetts trial attorney, 40, who also shares 1-year-old son Holden with his corporate attorney wife, 36.

"We split the days between us where she would work in the mornings and I would work in the afternoons," adds Alex. "I desperately needed activities and structure to maintain my sanity and get through the days."

It all started with a Teen Wolf recreation. After snapping a photo of Matilda mid air-guitar pose, he sent the image to his pal Andrew Kelly, a professional photographer in Colorado, to work some magic and make the picture resemble the movie moment even more. Since then, they've done Jaws, Scream, The Great Gatsby — even MSNBC's election results guru Steve Kornacki!

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Father-daughter duo remakes iconic movie shots at home in quarantine
Steve Kornacki
| Credit: CNBC; Courtesy Tots_for_Tot_Remakes

For props and costumes that resemble the real deal, the family hits up local garage sales and thrift items when possible.

"The proudest moment of my entire life was constructing a Dorothy Wizard of Oz dress out of our cloth napkins," Zane recalls. It even turned into a "family affair" when his mother-in-law, a "gifted seamstress," made Matilda's mini Legally Blonde and Titanic looks.

Explaining the process, Zane jokes that they usually have "about 30 seconds with Matilda before she loses interest," so the actual photo-taking is quick. The planning and editing after, however, takes time. Time and "probably 350 texts back and forth for each recreation."

Father-daughter duo remakes iconic movie shots at home in quarantine
Legally Blonde
| Credit: Tracy Bennett/Mgm/Kobal/Shutterstock; Courtesy Tots_for_Tot_Remakes

Which has been Matilda's favorite performance? "She would say the Bridesmaids recreation because she kept that wedding dress on for two straight days!" the dad says.

Zane says his favorite part of the project is "being with my daughter and showing her the joy and rewards that come with being creative."

"I never realized how much I missed and needed creativity in my life until I started being creative. It's also awesome to watch Matilda try and mimic the actors in the scenes and listen to her ask questions about the scenes," he says, adding, "And it's been fantastic to use this project as an excuse to introduce her to some of the more kid-friendly films she's recreated. She's consumed a lot of '80s classics."

"We will watch a film and when we get to a scene she recreated she gets excited and asks me to rewind it," he adds.

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Zane hopes the "light-hearted" weekly posts provide a "distraction for a few people to help during these difficult times." He says juggling family life in lockdown has been "really hard," attributing Tot_for_Tot_Remakes as helping him through it.

"It's hectic and hard balancing work, family and the never-ending school schedule shifts and closures. But the creativity from this has shown us how enjoyable life can be when you apply some time and creativity to anything," says Zane. "Creativity has led us to create treasure hunts, car washes, ultimate hopscotch courses, scavenger hunts, etc. It's been a lifesaver."