Netflix isn’t letting the uptick in COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles stop it from filming in the city.
Sources say that Ryan Murphy’s film The Prom — starring Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman and James Corden — is starting up production again on Thursday at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood. The movie, which had two days left of shooting when the pandemic forced an industry-wide shutdown, is slated to film for the next four days. Not all of the stars are expected to be on set, however, as some had already wrapped their parts.
Murphy’s star-studded Broadway adaptation marks the second major project from the streamer to return to production in the U.S. this month, after Adam Sandler’s comedy Hubie Halloween went through with a day of pickups earlier in July. The production was said to go off without a hitch, though insiders note that the streamer was limited in what it could draw from the experience given the short duration of the shoot.
Since The Prom plans to film for multiple consecutive days, sources say it’ll likely serve as a better test case for the company, which sources note has developed its own set of health and safety protocols. Says one insider, “Netflix is serious about the plan they put together and is using this as a test run for their other productions.”
Netflix is also accelerating plans to restart production on another one of its movies, Red Notice, starring Dwayne Johnson, Gal Gadot and Ryan Reynolds. A source says that the streamer is now eyeing a late August start for the action film, which had been shooting in Atlanta before halting production mid-March. Cast and crew are likely to have to quarantine for the duration of the roughly 60-day shoot, though specifics of the plan could very well shift in the next month.
Other studios are also attempting to jump back into production in the next month, despite the virus’ continued surge in the U.S. The fourth installment of FX’s Fargo, starring Chris Rock, is slated to return to production in Chicago mid-August, with two crews on hand in case one gets sick. And, of course, the Michael Bay-produced thriller Songbird, fronted by Demi Moore, has been shooting in and around Los Angeles in recent weeks.
Given the fluid nature of the situation, some studios, including Warner Bros. and Universal’s TV arms, have pushed back their target shoot dates from August to September. Holding them back, say insiders, are continued negotiations with the guilds over aspects of the COVID protocols. Among the issues still being hashed out: the role of COVID-19 managers, the frequency and type of testing, 10-hour workday caps and sick day compensation (meaning whether or not crewmembers who fall ill to the virus still get paid).