For months now, Hollywood has been desperately mulling over how to resume filming big-budget movies in a new era of social distancing rules. Jurassic World 3 is one of the first such projects to get back into production, but the threat of infection looms large over the entire operation, so much so that the New York Times reports that an additional health safety plan costing an estimated $9 million has been attached to the project to ensure no new infection cases occur.
The extra $9 million is used for, among other things, the cost of renting out an entire hotel for 20 weeks and acquiring 18,000 test kits for cast and crew. The large number of precautions being taken was an important caveat for getting A-list actors to return to work during the lockdown, as stated by Dominion star Bryce Dallas Howard.
"Until now, actors were not really included in prep. But in order to get any of us on a plane, we had to thoroughly understand the protocols, who was involved and hear second and third opinions. We are the guinea pigs who are going to take the leap."
Apart from regular health checks, the production's 750+ crew is split into two parts for each filming schedule. One half of the group are the ones who do not need to be on hand for filming, while the other half are the essential crew and cast members who are needed to interact and work together to film a scene.
Members of the essential crew undergo testing three times a week, and the sets are fumigated with an antiviral mist before each day of shooting. Chairs belonging to actors are surrounded by social distancing cones, while trailers have been replaced by 'living rooms' which require the washing of hands before any entry or exit. The production has also installed 150 hand sanitizer stations for the cast and crew.
One significant advantage that Jurassic World: Dominion has over other blockbusters is the fact that most of the shoots are carried out indoors on stage sets rather than on outdoor locations. The fact is, only the biggest studios will be able to afford the set of extra health precautions being undertaken to avoid infection, which is beyond the scope of smaller studio movies.
For now, how successfully the shoots for Dominion go will determine the roadmap for blockbuster filming in the coming months. After that comes the question of how to recoup the massive investments in such projects when theater chains across the world stay shut down. The questions to these answers will change the way Hollywood and the larger entertainment industry operates from here onwards.
Directed and co-written by Colin Trevorrow, Jurassic World: Dominion features a lead cast of Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jake Johnson, Omar Sy, Justice Smith, Daniella Pineda, Mamoudou Athie, DeWanda Wise and Dichen Lachman. The film arrives in theaters on June 11, 2021. NYTimes.