Photo Credit: Universal Studios
- “Jurassic World: Dominion” will resume production in the United Kingdom this July, with a $5 million COVID safety budget.
- Cast and crew will be tested before production starts, there will be daily temperature checks, and masks will be required for everyone except actors who are filming a scene.
- The news that production on the franchise would continue was met with mixed reactions online, as many thought it was too soon for productions to safely reopen.
- A report from several film unions, including the Directors Guild of America and Screen Actors Guild maintained that testing will be key in heading back to set. They did, however, also warn of the inherent risks.
Jurassic World to Resume Production
After filming for “Jurassic World: Dominion” came to a halt in March, it is now slated to be one of the first major studio pictures to resume filming, with a sturdy budget for coronavirus safety measures.
“Jurassic World” is set to pick up filming again in the second week of July in the United Kingdom, according to an exclusive report from Deadline. The film was four weeks into its 20 week shoot when COVID-19 brought most productions to a quick stop. Universal has spared no expense in resuming production for the Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard led film, with Deadline reporting that $5 million will be devoted to health and safety measures.
Thousands of coronavirus tests will be conducted throughout production. Universal has also hired a private medical company called Your Doctor to conduct the testing. Everyone will take one before filming, at various times throughout, and antibody tests will also be administered. Actors and crew like Pratt and Howard, who are currently at home in the United States, will fly to the U.K. and enter isolation before going to set.
In addition to this, cast and crew will have to go through temperature checks before stepping foot on set. Doctors and nurses will also be on site, and 150 hand sanitizers will be put up around the studio. 1,800 signs will also be displayed to remind crews that their numbers are limited in certain areas, and urging them to social distance. On top of this, all staff must undergo a COVID-19 Safety Training program, and everyone must wear masks, except for actors who are filming.
“Anyone with symptoms will be isolated immediately before being sent home,” a Universal production executive told Deadline. “We want to make sure that we are going above and beyond the national protocols to create a safe environment. Cost isn’t our main concern now: it’s safety.”
Reactions to Filming Announcement
Many Hollywood executives have been pushing for productions to reopen and trying to find ways to do so safely. While this is a victory for those who want to see the film industry get the greenlight to reopen, some think it is way too soon.
Actor Bradley Whitford, best known for his roles in “The West Wing” and
“Get Out” said Universal was setting a “dangerous precedent which will endanger crew members.”
Many others found it ironic that a film in the “Jurassic Park” series, which depicts the disaster that can ensue when you don’t listening to clear warnings, would be the first to resume filming.
Others believed that with testing as scarce as it is, and with so many in desperate need of medical and financial assistance, that Universal should not be spending millions of dollars on making sure its crew can be repeatedly tested so they can make a movie.
DGA and SAG Release Guidelines
The news came just a few days after film and theater organizations released their own safety guidelines for how productions should resume during coronavirus. In a 37-page document, the Directors Guild of America, Screen Actors Guild, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and International Brotherhood of Teamsters emphasized that testing will be one of the most essential parts of safe film sets.
These unions worked with epidemiologists and other medical experts to develop protocols for heading back to work. While their recommendations were meant to instruct crews on how to prioritize safety right now, they still mentioned that filming at this time comes with risks.
“A working film set provides an exceptional opportunity for virus spread,” the document said, before noting that there are still so many things we do not know about this virus, like if antibodies equate immunity, or if rapid testing is reliable.
Even with testing, the safety guidelines emphasized that there could be massive hurdles should anyone fall ill.
“A single confirmed case would lead to a quarantining of all who came into close contact with that person,” the document read. “This could potentially lead to shooting delays, and—should that person be a key actor/performer or director—to production shutdowns, not to mention the real possibility of illness and death.”
Still, they maintained that “regular, consistent testing” was the best path forward, “based on the best available public health science.”
See what others are saying: (Deadline) (Variety) (The Hollywood Reporter)
Netflix Reinstates Employee Who Crashed Director-Level Meeting After Criticizing Dave Chapelle
Terra Field had publicly accused Chappelle of making transphobic remarks in his new stand-up special “The Closer” just days before she was suspended.
Netflix Reinstates Terra Field
Netflix reinstated a transgender employee who was critical of Dave Chappelle’s new stand-up special after suspending her for attending a director-level meeting without an invitation.
Terra Field tweeted on Tuesday that she was reinstated once the company determined “there was no ill-intent in” her decision to attend the meeting.
“I’m going to take a few days off to decompress and try to figure out where I’m at,” she added. “At the very least, I feel vindicated.”
Field also shared an email Netflix sent her regarding her suspension being lifted.
“Our investigation did not find that you joined the QBR meeting with any ill intent and that you genuinely didn’t think there was anything wrong with seeking access to this meeting,” the email said. “Additionally, when a Director shared the link it further supported that this was a meeting you could attend.”
Field’s suspension came just days after she tweeted a viral thread criticizing Chappelle’s latest program on Netflix, “The Closer.” She was one of many activists who claimed Chappelle’s set was transphobic and encouraged Netflix to take action. Field wrote that his comments attacked “the very validity of transness.” Netflix insisted those tweets had nothing to do with her suspension.
Field reportedly attended the director-level meeting with two other employees who were also suspended. A spokesperson for Netflix told Deadline that those two staffers have likewise been reinstated and the company “will be distributing broader guidance about meetings and clarifying which are for which people.”
Netflix’s Response to Dave Chappelle Controversy
Netflix, for its part, has defended Chappelle and rejected calls to remove “The Closer” from the streaming service.
“It never feels good when people are hurting, especially our colleagues,” Netflix co-CEO Ted Srandos wrote in an internal memo. “You should also be aware that some talent may join third parties in asking us to remove the show in the coming days, which we are not going to do.”
“We don’t allow titles on Netflix that are designed to incite hate or violence, and we don’t believe The Closer crosses that line,” he added. “I recognize, however, that distinguishing between commentary and harm is hard, especially with stand-up comedy which exists to push boundaries. Some people find the art of stand-up to be mean spirited but our members enjoy it, and it’s an important part of our content offering.”
Among other things, Chappelle took time in his special to defend author J.K. Rowling, who previously faced backlash over a series of transphobic remarks she made. Chappelle said he agreed with Rowling.
“I’m team TERF,” he added. “I agree. I agree, man. Gender is a fact.”
Chappelle went on to make jokes about Caitlyn Jenner before comparing the genitalia of transgender women to Beyond and Impossible meat.
Many employees at Netflix are still frustrated with the way the platform has handled the controversy surrounding “The Closer.” According to The Verge, a trans employee resource group is planning a walkout on Oct. 20.
“Trans Lives Matter. Trans Rights Matter,” the group said in a memo. “And as an organization, Netflix has continually failed to show deep care in our mission to Entertain the World by repeatedly releasing content that harms the Trans community and continually failing to create content that represents and uplifts Trans content. We can and must do better!”
See what others are saying: (The Verge) (Deadline) (The New York Times)
Lil Nas X and Bella Poarch May Have Abandoned Plans To Participate In TikTok NFT Program
Lil Nas X’s TikTok NFT was scheduled to debut a week ago and is still not available to the public.
Creators Allegedly Leave TikTok’s NFT Program
Musicians Lil Nas X and Bella Poarch may have quietly exited TikTok’s new NFT collection, according to a report from Rolling Stone.
TikTok first announced the line, which is called “TikTok Top Moments,” at the end of September. It involves a series of creator-led NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, which are unique and tradeable digital assets. TikTok’s NFTs can be purchased with the cryptocurrency Ethereum. According to a press release, the money will “largely go directly to the creators and NFT artists involved.”
TikTok said that creators like Poarch, Lil Nas X, Grimes, Curtis Roach, Brittany Broski, and more would be participating in the program. The company called NFTs an “empowerment tool” that will allow these creators to “be recognized and rewarded for their content.” It planned to debut the collection on Oct. 6 with Lil Nas X’s NFT, but that token has still not been made available. A source told Rolling Stone that it may never be released.
NFT Rollout Described as “A Mess”
The outlet also reported that Poarch is “actively contemplating pulling out of the program due to worries about its execution.” According to Rolling Stone, three sources familiar with the rollout of the program have described it as “a challenge,” “a mess,” and “a complete joke.”
Those sources claimed that in order to secure Poarch’s initial participation, TikTok offered her marketing support worth potentially $4 million for her next release. The company also allegedly promised to use one of her songs in an end-of-year campaign. A spokesperson for TikTok, however, described these claims as “not accurate.”
Neither Poarch nor Lil Nas X has commented on their participation yet. Meanwhile, TikTok declined to answer Rolling Stone’s questions about the status of their NFTs.
Some of TikTok’s announced NFTs have gone public, though. Throughout Tuesday, Roach’s “Bored in the House” video was up for auction on the platform Immutable.
NFTs took the internet by storm in early 2021, but their popularity peaked in May and declined throughout the summer. Celebrities, tech moguls, and everyday people featured in viral memes have hopped on the trend and made millions doing so.
According to Rolling Stone, TikTok has valued some of its own NFTs at $1 million. Now, it’s unclear if those tokens will ever hit the market.
See what others are saying: (Rolling Stone) (Dexerto)
Ariana Grande, Bella Hadid, and Others Honor World Mental Health Day
A slew of stars acknowledged the day by sharing personal stories and making hefty donations to organizations that offer mental health resources.
Celebrities Donate to Mental Health Organizations
Major celebrities honored World Mental Health Day on Sunday by speaking candidly about their mental health struggles and donating to nonprofits.
Singer Ariana Grande announced that she is donating $5 million worth of free therapy through the online counseling platform Better Help. The star previously partnered with the company over the summer to give $1 million in therapy to fans and opted to throw more money at the program following its success.
“I acknowledge that there are very real barriers when it comes to accessing mental health resources, and while this is only one small gesture (and a much larger systemic problem remains) I wanted to do this again with @betterhelp in hopes of bringing access to a few more people and perhaps inspiring a few of you to try something new and prioritize your own healing,” Grande wrote on Instagram.
Those interested can sign up for a free first month of Better Help and get an additional 15% off the second month.
Model Bella Hadid also pledged to donate to mental health resources. She teamed up with the beverage company Kin Euphorics, which will donate 10% of its October sales to Gurls Talk, a nonprofit that gives adolescent girls a space to talk about mental health, along with various educational tools to aid those discussions. Hadid will match those donations.
“Dealing with mental illness for most of my life, bringing awareness to the education of mental health through my platform is something that I will continue to do until our mental is just as respected as our physical,” Hadid wrote. “I want everyone who struggles daily to know that you are not alone.”
Stars Share Resources and Personal Stories
Meanwhile, actress and singer Selena Gomez used her new makeup brand Rare Beauty to share statistics about the prevalence of mental illness and the efforts to combat it. The company, which has previously focused on several mental health initiatives, shared that just 1.3% of philanthropic investments go towards supporting mental health.
The company additionally cited information from an American Psychological Association report, which revealed that young people are particularly vulnerable to mental health struggles. It found that seven out of 10 Gen Z adults are more likely to report experiencing depression symptoms compared to other generations.
Gomez shared Rare Beauty’s post to her own story as well.
Singer Olivia Rodrigo similarly opened up about mental health and therapy during an interview with CBS that aired Sunday. In it, she said she has been in therapy since she was 16, which she believes has helped her both personally and professionally.
“That was a really big, life-changing moment,” she said. “I’ve learned so much about myself.”
“I think there’s sometimes a stigma around it, too, like I was saying,” the singer continued. “Sometimes people are like, ‘Oh, you don’t need that. You have so much. Your life is so great. What are your problems?’ I think that’s definitely a thing that sometimes older people can do to younger people to kind of trivialize what they’re going through.”