The U.K. Government will allow a number of film and television productions to be exempt from following quarantine rules and resume filming safely this summer.
The government announced the exemption Sunday in hopes of allowing production of international blockbusters to get underway. The exemption only applies to those traveling to England. Exempted individuals are set to live and work in controlled “bubbled” environments that will only include their production and accommodation locations.
Production on Tom Cruise’s Mission: Impossible 7, produced by Skydance Media for Paramount Pictures, is one of the blockbusters allowed to resume. The next installment in the Cruise franchise had originally been scheduled for July 23, 2021 but was pushed back four months due to the novel coronavirus pandemic and has a new release date of Nov. 19, 2021.
The U.K. government said that Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has already spoken with Cruise about how the exemption will allow production to resume on Mission: Impossible 7 and 8, which are being shot at the Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden in Hertfordshire.
“The world’s biggest blockbusters and high-end TV shows are made in Britain,” says Dowden. “Our creativity, expertise and highly successful tax reliefs for our screen industries means that we are an in demand location that in turn delivers a great return for our economy. We want the industry to bounce back and exempting small numbers of essential cast and crew from quarantine is part of our continued commitment to getting cameras rolling safely again. This is welcome news not just for film lovers but the thousands employed across the screen industries and the sectors it supports.”
Apart from Mission: Impossible 7 and 8, Universal is also expected to resume filming on Jurassic World: Dominion starring Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard on July 6 at Pinewood, Preproduction kicked off in June.
Other major productions originally halted in the U.K. include: Matt Reeve’s The Batman, the third Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them installment, Disney’s The Little Mermaid and Sony’s live-action musical adaptation of Cinderella.
Individuals traveling to England to work on film and television productions qualify as British under one of the government’s cultural tests or official co-production treaties. A new government guidance will be published later this week that will allow a limited number of essential cast and crew to travel to the U.K. without needing to quarantine for 14 days. The government attributed the screen industry’s progress to the BFI’s Industry COVID-19 Screen Sector Task Force and the British film Commission’s new production guidance announced in May.
Of the exemption, Chief Executive of the British Film Commission Adrian Wootton said: “Today’s immensely welcome news is also a clear recognition of the importance of the film and high-end TV inward investment sector to the UK’s economy. The sector was worth over £3bn in 2019, and has a clear role to play in our economic recovery following the lockdown.”
He added: “While the British Film Commission COVID-19 production guidance published last month is already helping to restart production safely, this considered exemption will allow international cast and crew back in the country, and back on set, to continue work on the blockbuster films and high end TV productions at our biggest studio facilities.”
News of the exemption arrives amid the UK government announcing plans on Friday to lift quarantine rules for 50 “low risk” countries. The United States was not listed. A number of nonessential shops reopened in the U.K. on June 15, as the ban on pubs, restaurants and cinemas lifted on July 4.
New exemption from quarantine rules for filmmakers means we can start making the best blockbusters again
— Oliver Dowden (@OliverDowden) July 5, 2020