Brooke Bloom, Samuel Levine Board Quarantine Drama 'Before the World Set on Fire'

New-Brooke Bloom and Sam Levine-SPLIT-GETTY-H 2020
Walter McBride/Getty Images; Bke Productions

The pandemic-inspired indie has started production with self-isolating actors capturing their performances via Zoom.

Director Jaclyn Bethany hasn't let coronavirus quarantine orders and strict on-set safety protocols get in the way of starting production on her third movie, Before the World Set on Fire, toplined by Brooke Bloom and Minyan star Samuel Levine.

The pandemic-inspired drama — set in a fictional Northeastern U.S. college where everyone is self-isolating — began rehearsals and production this week without a big crew, cameras, sound or major sets. "The campus is experiencing a quarantine that is parallel to what we've experienced worldwide," Bethany tells The Hollywood Reporter.

So the first stage of production is taking place remotely, with the cast recording their own performances via Zoom. "We have a director of photography and production designer consulting with the actors on their spaces. So the cast has a lot of power and responsibility in this way, and they have to be very committed," Bethany adds.

The ensemble cast includes Joe Adler, Alex Breaux, David Call, Eve Connolly, Karina Fontes, Alex Hurt, Mary Neely and Julia Sarah Stone. Before the World Set on Fire explores a relationship between young philosophy professor Anya, played by Bloom, and a prodigal student Wilder (Levine) and the emotional fallout of a fraught undergraduate seminar.

The second half of production, this time on location with the cast together, is set for New York City this fall — local social distancing guidelines permitting. For now, Bethany is content to shoot virtually to keep her focus on her cast, the initial visuals and her storyline.

"Everyone is separate except my producer and I, so everyone is safe in their homes. I am also looking at mixing mediums like social media, FaceTime from the characters' point of view to bridge that perspective," the director said.

Before the World Set on Fire is Bethany's third feature film after Indigo Valley and Highway One. The film is produced by Rebecca Morandi.