The eyes of the film biz are trailed on Universal’s Jurassic World: Dominion UK shoot right now as the studio attempts to answer the burning question – how do you stage a blockbuster-size production safely in the pandemic era?
We had the scoop back in June that Uni was setting up its dinosaur sequel for resumption at the UK’s Pinewood Studios from July 6 after it was put on hiatus in mid-March. The extensive plans involved a spend of around $5M on safety protocols, included in which were thousands of virus tests for cast and crew.
The shoot is now into day five, and the studio tells us progress is going well, despite reports in UK press overnight that there could be disruption caused by positive virus tests among the crew. Uni has debunked those stories and told Deadline there won’t be any delay. “Any reports indicating that Jurassic World: Dominion has halted production are categorically untrue,” a spokesperson confirmed.
I understand that there have been no positive virus tests on set, and any positive results, which the studio wouldn’t confirm, will have been on crew prior to arriving at the Pinewood lot. The extensive protocols put in place mean those cases could have been detected on workers who were yet to join up with the production, meaning they won’t have come into contact with anyone else and can now isolate.
Realistically, on a production of this size, with the sheer number of crew required, positive virus tests were at least likely if not inevitable. While the UK is relaxing its lockdown, there are still pockets of the country where cases are spiking. Widespread testing is available, but in the grand scheme of things few people are getting regular checks outside of key workers. The country has recorded close to 300,000 cases to date, and that’s likely to be the tip of the iceberg considering the amount of people who don’t display any symptoms.
For now, Jurassic World: Dominion remains on track, though this is going to be a lengthy process with only four of 20 planned shooting weeks wrapped pre-lockdown. We’ll keep you posted.