Whatever project you were working on to start 2020, things changed by the end of March. For many of you, the project came to a screeching halt, unable to overcome sudden disruptions brought on by the COVID-19 global pandemic. For others, the project carried on (and maybe even delivered), but it required rapid, often radical adjustments—from scope, budget and timelines to communication processes, risk assessment and more.
One sector that continues to be dramatically impacted by the new realities is the one that so many of us count on to escape reality—the movie-making business. Productions, large and small, have been shut down. We’re streaming more entertainment than ever, but new content—new movies, new seasons of favorite shows—are on hold indefinitely. Social distancing on a movie set? Cut!
So it is quite a story—and a Project of the Week on PM Network's digital home—that filmmaker Sam Levinson started shooting a film in June and completed it in July this year.
Malcom & Marie, starring Zendaya and John David Washington, followed local COVID-19 safety protocols, which meant the entire cast and crew quarantined during shooting as well as two weeks before and after shooting. Daily temperature checks and increased sanitation measures were among other precautions.
Malcom & Marie was a secret film project—until it wasn’t. Expect the big studios and other production companies to be motivated by the first known feature to start and “wrap” during the pandemic.
Hollywood loves to copy a winning script, after all. But in this case, any “sequels” will have to be as good or better than the original in managing the risks posed by a deadly virus. There are no shortcuts or second takes when it comes to safety.