Warner Bros. has paused its shoot for “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 3” after an unspecified crew member tested positive for COVID-19.
“A team member from Fantastic Beasts 3 has tested positive for COVID-19,” a Warner Bros. spokesperson told Variety. “The diagnosis was confirmed as a result of required and ongoing testing that all production employees receive, and the team member is currently in isolation. Out of an abundance of caution, ‘Fantastic Beasts 3’ paused production and will be back up in accordance with safety guidelines.”
Based on characters created by J.K. Rowling, the “Harry Potter” spinoff was in production at the Warner Bros. studio facility in Leavesden, U.K. It is directed by David Yates, who also directed the first two instalments of the franchise and several “Harry Potter” films, and stars Eddie Redmayne and Jude Law.
It was due to begin filming in March 2020, but the first wave of the pandemic pushed shooting back to September.
Johnny Depp was asked to step aside from the role of Gallert Grindenwald after he lost his libel case against U.K. tabloid The Sun, which claimed he was a wife beater. He was replaced by “Another Round” actor Mads Mikkelsen.
In 2020, Warner Bros. was forced to halt the production of “The Batman,” starring Robert Pattinson, after a positive COVID-19 test, and resumed after a break.
The “Fantastic Beasts” franchise is a money spinner for Warner Bros. The first film, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” (2016), grossed $814 million worldwide, while the second, “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” (2018), collected $655 million.
The film is expected to release July 15, 2022.