Along with a slew of enhanced safety protocols, it appears the new normal for Hollywood may be intermittent production delays due to the contagiousness of the coronavirus pandemic. Despite a number of extra precautions in place to help prevent the spread of coronavirus on the sets of movies and TV shows that are making their way back to production, it appears that studios may just have to accept that some people will still end up with coronavirus. Netflix is the latest to learn that lesson.
The Harder They Fall, a new western starring Idris Elba (Pacific Rim), Jonathan Majors (Lovecraft Country), Regina King (Watchmen), Lakeith Stanfield (Sorry to Bother You), Delroy Lindo (Da 5 Bloods), and Zazie Beetz (Joker), halted production last week after an unnamed cast member tested positive for COVID-19.
Deadline has news on The Harder They Fall production being stopped as of Thursday, October 15. The production remained shutdown through Friday and seemingly into the weekend with no word on when it might resume. The film, which is being directed by Boaz Yakin, had been shooting for five weeks after production was initially delayed from beginning back in March.
It’s not clear if one of the primary cast members tested positive for COVID-19 or if it was a supporting star or even an extra. It’s likely not Idris Elba, since he was one of the first Hollywood stars to reveal he had contracted COVID-19, but there is always a chance he got infected again, even though that has been rare so far. Either way, Netflix is taking the proper precautions to hopefully contain the spread as best they can.
Many productions that are getting back to work have enacted a “pod system” where the various units of production are kept separate from each other, not to mention keeping the actors, directors, and primary crew members on set separate from other departments and the video village set-up (where filmmakers can view footage as it’s being shot and after a take is complete). But it’s just not easy to contain the spread of any virus.
The Harder They Fall isn’t the first production to encounter such a problem. Jurassic World: Dominion not only had to change the size of their production in Malta after some crew members tested positive for COVID-19 before shooting began there, but they recently had to halt production in their first unit after a few more positive tests. The Batman also shut down production for a little bit after star Robert Pattinson received a positive COVID-19 test.
Unfortunately, this is the risk that any movie and TV productions are taking by getting back to work. Filmmakers, actors, and crew members all know it’s a risk to get back to work in the middle of a pandemic, but they also all recognize that the Hollywood machine needs to be back up and running if any of them want to have a paycheck.
The Harder They Fall does not yet have an official release date, so it’s not clear if this will have on impact on when it arrives.
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