As the world moves into the next phases of the ongoing pandemic, large-scale productions including the Avatar sequels and Jurassic World: Dominion have announced plans to resume filming. Below, ET is keeping an up-to-date account of which movie and TV productions are returning to set and when.
After shutting down production when star Tom Hanks became one of the first celebrities to announce he had tested positive for COVID-19, Baz Luhrmann’s musical drama about the life and music of Elvis Presley, Elvis, is set to resume filming in Australia on Sept. 23. The movie stars Austin Butler as the eponymous musical legend, Olivia DeJonge as Priscilla Presley and Hanks as Colonel Tom Parker.
"We’re back to, as Elvis liked to say, 'taking care of business!'" Luhrmann said in a statement. "It is a real privilege in this unprecedented global moment that Tom Hanks has been able to return to Australia to join Austin Butler and all of our extraordinary cast and crew to commence production on Elvis. I cannot emphasize enough how lucky we feel in the current climate that the state of Queensland, and Queenslanders in general, have been so supportive of this film. We thank our partners in the Queensland Government and Queensland Health for their extremely diligent process, so that we can be an example how creativity and productivity can proceed safely and responsibly in a way that protects our team and the community at large. We are all excited to start working with Tom Hanks when he is out of quarantine in two weeks."
ET learned on Aug. 19 that season 3 of The Conners had returned to production in Los Angeles. The show is being shot with minimal crew and without an in-studio audience.
Producers have been preparing for months and are enforcing extremely rigorous safety and health protocols that are aligned with all state and local requirements as well as union and industry guidelines for production.
The show also plans to incorporate the coronavirus pandemic into their season 3 storyline.
“We’ll absolutely be dealing with it,” EP Bruce Helford told TVLine. “We’re a show that reflects reality, so we’re obligated [to address it]. I would think somebody in the family would be taking the jobs no one else wants, [like] working in grocery stories. They’d be taking jobs that put them at risk because they need the money, like most of blue collar America.”
'The Tonight Show'
After months of Jimmy Fallon filming The Tonight Show from his home, the late night staple officially returned to its 30 Rock studio, complete with multiple safety checks, no live audience, face masked crew and a socially distanced The Roots.
"I'm here to show you there is a light at the end of the tunnel if we all do our part to keep each other safe," Fallon said during his first monologue back. The show will be a little bit different than what you're used to. There is no audience, the guests will be streaming from home, but I think, in some ways, we are getting used different. So we are here for you and slowly and safely getting back to work and back to whatever normal is."
The Michael Bay-produced, Adam Mason-directed pandemic thriller became the first production to shoot on location in L.A. since the beginning of lockdown. KJ Apa, Sofia Carson, Demi Moore, Craig Robinson, Paul Walter Hauser, Peter Stormare, Bradley Whitford and Jenna Ortega star.
"Finding a safe and practical way back into production has not been easy, however, our partnership with the guilds and unions has been a true testament to our great Hollywood community," Paramount's Adam Goodman said. "Throughout the process they were awesome partners at finding a way to get their members working again, but always making safety and welfare the first priority. As artists, we need to keep telling stories, and times like these must be documented."
'America's Got Talent'
NBC's talent competition became one of the first unscripted shows to return to production when they began filming in late June, with creator Simon Cowell telling Deadline there was "a real buzz of excitement" on set. New safety measures included judges arriving in their own cars, handling their microphones and sitting socially-distanced during the acts. Additionally, filming took place outside, there was regular testing on set and a pod system was set up for production.
The full list of films comprises Ashes to Oceans, Half Baked 2, Lady of the House, Live Feed, Moonshadow, Pursuit and The Test, plus indies The Black Hole, Dog, Dead Dads Club and Little America.
Henry Cavill and The Witcher cast had begun filming season 2 in London when production was forced to go on hiatus in March. (Co-star Kristofer Hivju would reveal shortly thereafter that he tested positive for COVD-19.)
Now, the Netflix series' official Twitter account has announced, in true The Witcher fashion, "I'm dusting off my lute and quill, I have some news, some mead to spill: After all the months we’ve been apart It’s time for production to restart. The Witcher and his bard – who’s flawless, will reunite on set 17 August."
Director Colin Trevorrow and cast members Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard began filming Jurassic World: Dominion in February, only to halt production in early March. "There are plans to resume -- and we will resume, as long as and when everyone knows that they are safe," Howard told ET.
The New Zealand-based production was suspended in March, with director James Cameron and his cast of Na'vi decamping to their respective home bases until the N.Z. government gave the go-ahead to return. That came at the end of May and, following a mandatory 14-day self-isolation, cameras began rolling on the Avatar sequels in June with a smaller crew and safety precautions in effect.
Hollywood Is Open for Business
After an industry-wide shutdown in March, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that film and television productions had California's blessing to resume on June 12 -- subject to approval from county public health authorities and abiding to specific safety procedures amid the ongoing pandemic.
"To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, productions, cast, crew and other industry workers should abide by safety protocols agreed by labor and management, which may be further enhanced by county public health officers," the California Department of Public Health said in a statement.