UPDATE Sunday AM: Filming on ABC’s For Life won’t resume Monday as previously scheduled after multiple positive test results for individuals working on the series late last week. To comply with local government guidelines and to ensure the safety of the cast and crew, For Life producer Sony Pictures TV has made a decision to suspend filming for two weeks.
The drama’s cast and crew have been notified of the extended production hiatus, which comes after shooting was paused early on Friday over what the studio described at the time as “inconsistent test results.”
New York, where For Life films, has strict COVID quarantine rules. French tennis player Benoît Paire was forced to withdraw from the recent U.S. Open after a positive COVID test and self-isolate for two weeks even after producing multiple negative followup results. Players who had been in contact with him also had to self-quarantine for two weeks despite never testing positive.
Sony TV has a number of shows back in production whose shooting has gone smoothly so far, including daytime dramas The Young and the Restless and Days Of Our Lives, dramas S.W.A.T. for CBS and For All Mankind for Apple and comedy The Goldbergs for ABC — all based in Los Angeles — as well ABC’s The Good Doctor in Vancouver.
“As a result of some inconsistent test results, and out of an abundance of caution, we paused production earlier today,” a spokesperson for Sony Pictures Television, which produces For Life, said in a statement to Deadline.
According to sources, multiple people on the show produced positive tests, followed by negative results. For now production is slated to resume on Monday as scheduled pending the resolution of the test inconsistencies.
For Life is believed to be the first series to return to production in New York; it started shooting its second season August 26. The series, starring Nicholas Pinnock, also became one of the first ABC scripted series to begin filming its new season. The drama, from creator/exec producer Hank Steinberg, is inspired by the life of Isaac Wright Jr., who was wrongfully convicted but got his conviction overturned while in prison and became a licensed attorney, For Life follows Aaron Wallace (Pinnock) as he represents himself and his fellow inmates in court, while also exposing injustices and racial profiling in the American legal system as well as the flaws in the prison system. As Steinberg revealed in a Q&A with Deadline last month, Season 2 will reflect BLM and the protests following the death of George Floyd. It also will see Wallace leaving prison and trying to re-assimilate into his old life.
Pinnock, Indira Varma, Joy Bryant, Dorian Missick and Tyla Harris star along with Mary Stuart Masterson, Boris McGiver and Timothy Busfield. Steinberg, Tillman, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and his G-Unit Film & Television production company and Wright Jr. executive produce alongside Robinson and Greenspan via Doug Robinson Productions and Russell Fine.
Jackson posted an image of Pinnock wearing a mask on the set of the show several days before the show started shooting. Its production suspension was first reported by TMZ.
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