‘Darkest Hour’ halted by Russian fires

Summit shuts down production of action-thriller

MOSCOW — Russia’s wildfire emergency has shut down a Hollywood action-thriller movie shooting in Moscow.

The dense smog that has blanketed the Russian capital this week – causing authorities to issue public health warnings – forced producers of Summit Entertainment/New Regency’s alien-invasion feature “The Darkest Hour” to put back location shooting by two weeks.

The production delay, announced to cast and crew Thursday (Aug 5) came on the eve of the two worst days for smoke-related smog yet in Moscow.

Summit said that the decision, which comes after a week of Russia’s worst ever wildfires in which 52 people have died and around 2,000 homes have been destroyed, was taken on health and safety grounds.

Smoke in the areas where shooting was taking place made production impossible, Summit said, adding that there were no issues with actors schedules following the temporary shut down.

Cast and crew has been assured production would be completed.

“On any production the health and safety of the actors and crew is of primary concern. The potential health issues and spread of fire has forced the production to be put on hold for two weeks in order to allow things to stabilize in the area. We do not foresee this temporary stoppage of filming effecting the film’s wrap date as we always build contingencies into a production schedule to account for unforeseen situations,” a spokesman for Summit said.

The film, produced by Tom Jacobson and Timur Bekmambetov, stars Olivia Thirlby and Emile Hirsch. Directed by Chris Gorak, the film – about an alien invasion of the Russian capital – also stars top Russian actors, including Gosha Kutsenko who appeared in Bekmambetov’s hit Russian sci-fi thrillers “Night Watch” and “Day Watch”.

Summit said Saturday (August 7) that all members of the cast and crew of the film were fine, despite the fact that Moscow was blanketed in its worst day of smog yet.

Russian authorities warned people Saturday to stay indoors and to wear surgical face masks if going outside.

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