MADRID — The Spanish shoot of “Official Competition,” starring Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz, has been temporarily suspended from Thursday March 12 by producer The Mediapro Studio.
The Spanish production giant described the decision in a written statement as a “security measure and act of responsibility towards shoots’ crews, given the concerns of their members, and to allow them to meet their own family needs after the closure of colleges in Madrid.”
The move was made after Spanish authorities shuttered schools on Monday in Madrid, home to much of the Spanish industry.
“It is hoped that production will be renewed as soon as it is possible to guarantee the safety of crew members,” the statement added.
Also featuring Argentine star Oscar Martínez, comedy “Official Competition” went into production in and around Madrid in late January. It was scheduled to shoot until mid-April.
One of the biggest movie productions in the Spanish-speaking world, and part of a ramped-up commitment by The Mediapro Studio – already one of Europe’s biggest production players in scripted drama – to feature film production, the movie features Banderas and Martínez as renowned actors of large talent but even bigger egos, set on a collision course on a movie shoot directed by a celebrated auteur cineaste, played by Cruz.
Schools were closed Thursday in the Basque Country, another center of contagion in Spain as, in a event which brought home the crude reality of COVID-19 to Spain’s population, the country’s soccer authorities suspended LaLiga soccer matches for two weeks and the Real Madrid basketball and soccer teams were sent into voluntary home-based quarantine after a member of the basketball team tested positive, having played a match in Milan in an empty stadium two weeks ago.
With cinema admissions sagging 40% in Spain, and confirmed COVID-19 cases rising all over Europe, Alvaro Longoria, president of the European Producers’ Club told Variety on Thursday that the entity was studying the publication of measures to attempt to prevent the collapse of Europe’s production sector.