Understandably, nerves are rattled, tempers are flaring and emotions are running high as the number of COVID-19 cases erupting on the shoots of movie and TV productions continues to climb.
Though production has been declared an “essential” job in California and strict safety protocols are being adopted on sets around the globe to help mitigate the risk of on-the-job outbreaks, there’s a palpable fear among cast and crew members who are putting themselves in harm’s way in the midst of a deadly virus.
Several crew members on the set of Lionsgate’s “Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet” at the CBS Radford lot in Studio City — which reported that at least one dozen workers had tested positive — were livid with show creator and star Rob McElhenney after he sent a message to the staff saying, “There remains ZERO evidence of any transmission at work,” insisting that “our set continues to be one of the safest places you can be outside of your homes.”
One crew member ardently objected to that assertion, telling Variety: “That’s horseshit. Utter horseshit.” There were in fact two separate outbreaks on the set of “Mythic Quest,” one in November when a handful of crew members tested positive and more in early December, which forced the show to shut down.
Tom Cruise went nuclear on two crew members during the filming of “Mission: Impossible 7” in the U.K. when he saw the pair standing too close together, violating safety protocols that could have led to the production being shut down. “If I see you do it again you’re f—ing gone,” he scolded them. Director Ava DuVernay, whose Colin Kaepernick-scripted series “Colin in Black & White” recorded nine cases among crew members who were prepping the production, took to Twitter to defend Cruise’s outburst: “If you’ve shot during the pandemic, you know the Herculean effort it is to keep a project going within COVID protocols. Then some dude doesn’t wanna wear his shield? Nah. Been there. Felt the rage.”
Given the growing number of shutdowns amid a surge of new cases on sets that include Ryan Murphy’s “Impeachment: American Crime Story,” CBS All Access’ “Why Women Kill” and ABC’s “Call Your Mother” to name a few, Hollywood may be facing another production blackout. If not, there’s sure to be more fear and loathing among all those brave souls risking their lives when they show up to work.