Kurt Wimmer’s reimagining of “Children of the Corn” has completed its coronavirus-defying shoot in Australia. The filmmakers employed stringent health and safety protocols, and multiple insurance policies.
The producers revealed the previously undisclosed cast of young actors, with Elena Kampouris (“Before I Fall”) and Kate Moyer (“When Hope Calls”) starring. They are accompanied by Australian talent Callan Mulvey (“Avengers: Endgame”) and Bruce Spence (“The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King”).
“You can theorize all you like about safety protocols, but until you get on set, you don’t really know. But I can now tell you it is impossible to keep a camera crew 1.5 meters apart,” producer Lucas Foster (“Ford v Ferrari”) told Variety.
Principal photography began in New South Wales in early March, when the COVID-19 outbreak forced the majority of productions around the world to shut down.
“We ended up taking hundreds of measures. We did not trust the whole. Instead, we broke down every scene separately. Night. Day. Crowds. Interiors. And so on, assessing different levels of risk,” Foster said.
The production leaned heavily on safety manager Jon Heaney. A stunt coordinator with credits on “Mad Max: Fury Road” and “Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones,” he also has experience in the construction and mining industries. It also worked closely with the Screen NSW and SafeWork NSW agencies.
Australia has now drawn up standard protocols for film and TV productions, and has eased its lockdown and internal travel restrictions as the rates of infection have eased. But much of the industry currently remains grounded because insurance companies are unwilling to issue cover that includes compensation for COVID-19 infection.
“Corn” bought its insurance cover early. “We had the insurance in place before we hit the ground, and I made sure to have paid the premiums before I left the U.S.,” Foster said. “I treated the film like an indie movie, one with no margin of error and lots of insurance.” Foster says he took out three policies: for travel, production and the kind of specifics that can occur on a horror action movie.
“We did not use a completion bond. If we had, we would probably have been considered unfilmable and got shut down,” Foster said.
Foster says the new film has “almost nothing to do with” the 1984 movie, directed by Fritz Kiersch, and based on the same Stephen King short story. “We went back to the story and free-associated from there,” he said.
The film describes the events leading up to, and including, the massacre of the adults of a small town in Nebraska by their children, after the adults’ irresponsibility ruins the crop and the children’s future.
Along with Foster, production credits go to Doug Barry (“FML”) and John Baldecchi (“Happy Death Day”). Wimmer, Mathieu Bonzon, Donald P. Borchers, Pascal Borno, John Fragomeni, Brian LaRoda, Keri Nakamoto, Andre Gaines and Sean Harner are executive producing. Foster, Bonzon, Harner and Pam Collis produced on the ground in Australia.
The film has received major production investment from the Made in NSW fund at Screen NSW. It is expected to be completed by the end of the year. International sales are handled by Timeless Films’ Ralph Kamp and CAA.
Casting involved large numbers of socially distanced auditions – many using self-tapes – under the supervision of John McAlary.
Kampouris next stars opposite Josh Duhamel and Leslie Bibb in the upcoming Netflix series “Jupiter’s Legacy,” for executive producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura; and will appear in “Shoplifters of the World” with Joe Manganiello.
Moyer is best known for her role as Heather Hobbie in Hulu’s “Holly Hobbie,” and for her part in the Season 3 finale of “The Handmaid’s Tale.”