10:54am PT by Jackie Strause
'Bachelor in Paradise' Cast Returning as Filming Resumes This Weekend
Since getting the green light to resume production on Tuesday, ABC's Bachelor in Paradise has been in the process of returning its original season four castmembers to Mexico, with filming set to pick back up this weekend, sources confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter.
Once Warner Bros. TV announced that production would continue after an internal investigation found no evidence of the alleged misconduct that was first reported on June 11, producers were headed back to the Sayulita, Mexico, set and quickly began to set the cast in motion. Many of the original castmembers were contacted on Tuesday, a source close to production tells THR. With their contracts already in place, the castmembers were told they were returning for an extended filming period through July 5. Originally, the season was scheduled to be filmed from June 1-27.
Producers had to check scheduling with the cast due to the extended week of filming, given the inclusion of the July 4 holiday weekend. But many were quick to agree and will be traveling back to Mexico at the end of the week. "Viewers will see most of the same cast returning, with some new faces," said the source.
Amanda Stanton, Raven Gates, Vinny Ventiera, Lacey Mark, Robby Hayes and Alexis Waters have all taken to their respective social media accounts to announce their returns (Stanton posted to her Instagram Story), with many others from the cast celebrating the news.
Though ABC has only officially announced the starting 16-person cast, several other names have since come to light. Some of the returning cast so far, according to the source, includes twins Emily and Haley Ferguson, from Ben Higgins' season of The Bachelor; Kristina Schulman from Nick Viall's season; and one of the men currently competing on Rachel Lindsay's season of The Bachelorette who has yet to be announced, as it would spoil his run on the season. (WBTV declined to comment on the casting.)
The fourth season of the Bachelor spinoff began filming at its Sayulita resort on June 4. Things came to a halt on June 7 after a producer filed a complaint over an alleged sexual encounter, which was captured on film, between two contestants who had been drinking, Corinne Olympios and DeMario Jackson. "We can say, however, that the tape does not support any charge of misconduct by a castmember. Nor does the tape show, contrary to many press reports, that the safety of any castmember was ever in jeopardy," Warner Bros. said in a statement when concluding its internal investigation on Tuesday.
While neither Jackson or Olympios are set to return — yet — sources say Jackson is hoping to come back. With Olympios, who has retained top Hollywood litigator Marty Singer to represent her, continuing her own investigation despite WBTV's finding, it is unclear if Paradise viewers will see the former Bachelor star returning. (Olympios' lawyer issued a statement, but the star herself declined to comment after WBTV confirmed that filming would resume. Jackson also declined to comment.)
Olympios' time on the show, however, has already been documented and could be used on the upcoming season.
Though the encounter between Olympios and Jackson occurred on June 4, production continued for a couple of days until the situation was officially brought to light. As THR previously reported, there is footage of several one-on-one dates off-location, as well as filmed time at the resort. They did not film the first rose ceremony, but there is enough footage for an episode, the source added.
The footage of Olympios and Jackson's alleged sexual encounter will not be made public at this time, per Warner Bros., and producers could opt to cut the events of the first few days on set entirely. The most likely decision, however, is that the show will address the controversy at the start of the season, possibly with an address from host Chris Harrison or a sit-down with Jackson, if he returns, or some of the other cast who were present.
Despite the shortened filming window, WBTV is still aiming to meet its scheduled premiere date of Aug. 8. That date might be a tough turnaround. ABC confirmed that Paradise would air this summer as planned and though it didn't specify a date, the producers do have the ability to edit as the show airs.
Also locked and loaded is the wedding between Evan Bass and Carly Waddell, which went on as planned Saturday and is set to air on the season this summer. If the show does address the controversy right out of the gate, the timeline of events would be the first days of footage, the investigation halting production, some of the cast returning for the wedding and then the show picking back up after the investigation was concluded.
An additional incentive to meet the premiere date, or as close to it as possible, is to keep up franchise momentum once The Bachelorette goes off the air. "There are a lot of eyeballs on this," added the source about the ratings potential. "ABC will want to go right from the finale into Paradise as planned."
The source also clarified reports about "recasting" by shedding light on the process.
Paradise, which reunites former Bachelor and Bachelorette castoffs in hopes of finding love, shuffles its cast as the season continues. New castmembers arrive each episode to shake up existing and make new relationships. Aside from the official 16 stars, some of the additional cast had yet to finalize contracts when production was suspended. Those stars, according to the source, are the ones who are currently negotiating with producers as they finalize the entire cast list.
If anyone changes their minds or has a scheduling conflict, that's when producers will reach out to new faces from the franchise. And with considerable amount of footage left to film because of the delay from the investigation, producers do have leeway to add some new blood to the mix.
Another element that remains up in the air is what exactly the show will look like when it does return, considering WBTV announced plans to "implement certain changes to the show’s policies and procedures to enhance and further ensure the safety and security of all participants."
The televised courtship takes place at a resort with an open bar, and this season a former contestant, Wells Adam, was cast as the bartender. The usual bartender, Jorge, has become a central character on the show and has even had his own opening credit sequence in seasons past. It's unclear if Adams will return, as producers may be wary to reintroduce a distributor of alcohol in light of the recent investigation.
Behind the scenes, the staff on set is likely to get additional training on how to handle a variety of safety issues. "WBTV is reviewing everything to ensure that nothing like this can happen again," added a source.
Several season-four stars, including Derek Peth, Schulman and Mark, along with Viall, kicked off the enthusiasm on social media Tuesday when news first broke about production resuming.
Kate Stanhope contributed to this story.
June 22, 8:45 a.m.: Updated with social media posts
June 21, 1:20 p.m. Updated with several cast social media posts.