EXCLUSIVE: Jurassic World: Dominion is still on course to shoot in Malta from the end of the month, but will scale back its presence due to the rising number of COVID-19 infections on the island.
Stars Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard and Sam Neill will be among those no longer traveling to the country.
Per local reports last week, four Jurassic World crew members have tested positive for COVID-19 on the island. They are now self-isolating.
Malta has seen a spike in coronavirus cases this month and the UK last week added the country to its list of places from which arrivals must quarantine for 14 days. There are currently around 600 active cases on the island, almost half of the total number of infections recorded since the epidemic broke out in early March. From today, Malta will close all nightclubs, bars, concert halls and sports clubs in a bid to arrest the rising number of cases. Public gatherings are limited to 15 people.
A Universal Pictures spokesperson told us, “Jurassic World: Dominion will have a significant presence in Malta with a second unit crew shooting there from the end of August through to September. Working with an abundance of caution as we have done throughout this production, first unit will no longer shoot in Malta to keep our presence on the ground to a minimum. We’d like to thank the Maltese Government and Film Commission for all their support and we look forward to a successful shoot in this beautiful country.”
Studio sources tell us that around 200 crew will be working on the multi-week second unit shoot, which is around a 50% reduction in the forecast team. The crew will be made up of local professionals and crew arriving from the UK, where the film has been based and will continue to shoot after Malta. Testing will be frequent. The Malta Film Commission told us yesterday it was anticipating close to 1,000 people being employed on the shoot in the country, which offers generous tax incentives for foreign movies.
Per a New York Times article last week, four Jurassic World crew members in the UK have tested positive for the virus since early July. They were isolated and no one became seriously ill, the studio said.
The $200M movie had to stop filming two weeks into shoot earlier this year, however it was the first blockbuster to return to production after lockdown. As we first reported, Universal implemented an extensive and effective raft of protocols to ensure a safe environment. According to the Times, the outlay has stretched to $9M, 18,000 tests and the renting of a whole hotel for some cast and crew. It has been an impressive, if costly, feat.
The studio last week posted a series of behind-the-scenes images from production on the film’s instagram account.
The Malta Film Commission told us it is expecting to host other major movies later this year but couldn’t disclose which ones.
Film and TV production is gradually re-starting across Europe. Sony’s Cinderella and Warner Bros’ Matrix 4 are among the latest to get back underway in the UK and Germany, respectively. However, coronavirus cases are generally on the rise again so productions will be treading carefully.
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