The U.K. government is to exempt some leading U.S. actors, such as Tom Cruise, and crew from its 14-day travel quarantine to allow Hollywood blockbusters to resume production.
The move follows a conversation between culture secretary Oliver Dowden and Cruise last week about restarting filming on the latest “Mission: Impossible” movie. The exemption will allow “Mission: Impossible 7” – starring and produced by Cruise – to restart filming at Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden, near London.
On Friday, the government published a list of countries whose citizens could enter England without going into quarantine for 14 days, but the U.S. was not on that list (see link here).
Dowden said: “The world’s biggest blockbusters and high-end TV shows are made in Britain. Our creativity, expertise and highly successful tax reliefs for our screen industries means that we are an in demand location that in turn delivers a great return for our economy. We want the industry to bounce back and exempting small numbers of essential cast and crew from quarantine is part of our continued commitment to getting cameras rolling safely again.”
The government said the exemption only applies to cast and crew coming to England – other parts of the U.K. have their own rules – employed on film and television productions that qualify as British, according to British Film Institute classification. Those who are exempted will have to live and work in protected “bubble” environments for two weeks, and will have to follow guidance on managing the risk of COVID-19, as set down by the British Film Commission (see link here).
In a statement, the government said the exemption “recognizes the ability of international productions to isolate cast and crew from the general public, and that individual studios and production companies have developed practical solutions for safe working practices, including rolling out new training programs for screen industry workers filming in studios and on location.”
Those individuals granted exemption will have to carry a letter from the studio responsible for the production. The letter must include their name, date of birth, passport number, U.K. address, production dates and location, contact phone number for the studio, and the certificate number from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to prove that the production has qualified as British.
Adrian Wootton, chief executive of the British Film Commission, said: “Today’s immensely welcome news is also a clear recognition of the importance of the film and high-end TV inward investment sector to the U.K.’s economy. The sector was worth over £3 billion [$3.75 billion] in 2019, and has a clear role to play in our economic recovery following the lockdown.”
Ben Roberts, chief executive of the British Film Institute, said: “It’s great news that film and television production have been granted quarantine exemption, one of the key outcomes from the work of the BFI’s Screen Sector Task Force, which in tandem with the U.K.’s COVID-19 industry guidance, means that film and television productions that are reliant on international talent, will be able to go ahead, generating jobs and securing a pipeline of new work for those working across the wider industry.”
“Film and television are worth £9.9 billion [$12.4 billion] to the U.K. economy and being able to get production back up and running as quickly as possible is going to help our industry and its 77,000 production workers contribute to the U.K.’s economic recovery.”
“Mission: Impossible 7,” produced by Skydance Media for Paramount Pictures, closed down production in late February due to the coronavirus pandemic. The seventh and eighth instalments of the franchise, both written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie, are being shot back-to-back.