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Jurassic World to Resume Production in the UK, Spending $5 Million on COVID-19 Safety

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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)

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Disney Eviscerates Scarlett Johansson’s “Black Widow” Lawsuit as “Callous,” but Report Suggests Emma Stone and Emily Blunt May Follow Her Lead

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“There is no merit whatsoever to this filing,” the company said in an uncharacteristically blunt statement that was heavily criticized online. 


Johansson/Disney Lawsuit Gets Bitter

Disney has described a recent lawsuit from “Black Widow” actress Scarlett Johansson as “sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” but Johansson may have just unleashed what is to become an even bigger legal challenge for the House of Mouse. 

At the center of this dispute, Johansson alleges she lost $50 million because Disney opted for a dual streaming/theater release of “Black Widow,” which debuted in theaters and for $30 on Disney+ with Premier Access earlier this month. 

According to Johansson’s suit, her contract with Disney — which was negotiated prior to any hint of a pandemic — stipulated that “Black Widow” would see an exclusive theater release. Notably, the actress also said her contractual bonuses were tied to the movie’s box office performance, which is an extremely common practice with films featuring A-list celebrities.

Of course, when the pandemic hit — like many other industries — movies were upended. Pandemic-related changes meant that despite having an initial release date of May 2020, Marvel fans wouldn’t get a chance to see “Black Widow” for over a year. 

Still, Johansson said she tried to contact Disney to renegotiate her contract prior to the film’s ultimate release, but she claims the company was unresponsive. 

On Thursday, she then filed a complaint with the Los Angeles County Superior Court, with her attorney arguing that “Disney has enjoyed the benefits of having one of Hollywood’s top actresses promote its wholly owned subscription service at no additional cost to Disney, and with the intended effect of taking money out of that actress’ own pocket.”

Later Thursday, Disney claimed that it has “fully complied” with Johansson’s contract and that the streamed release of the film “has significantly enhanced her ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $20M she has received to date.”

“There is no merit whatsoever to this filing,” the company said in its uncharacteristically blunt statement.

Are Emma Stone and Emily Blunt Next?

Speaking of blunt, it was reported Friday that both Emily Blunt and Emma Stone may also file lawsuits against Disney’s dual streaming release of their films. 

In fact, according to an exclusive newsletter run by former Hollywood Reporter Editor Matt Belloni, Stone “is said to be weighing her options” over the dual release of “Cruella” in May. Meanwhile, he suggested Blunt could also take action or speak out following this weekend’s release of “Jungle Cruise.”

Belloni went on to describe Disney as “notoriously difficult to deal with” regarding such matters and claimed that many have simply been waiting for someone powerful enough to speak out. 

Disney Criticized for Its Response

Much of the public perception of the situation has led to overwhelming support for Johansson’s camp. Online, a slew of people lambasted Disney’s response, with many calling it a deflection. 

See what others are saying: (ScreenRant) (Newsweek) (Variety)

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Candace Owens and Logan Paul in Talks to Debate

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A spokesperson confirmed to Insider Wednesday that the two have had “productive” conversations about the prospect offline.


Candace Owens Challenges Logan Paul to a Debate

Right-wing commentator Candace Owens and controversial YouTuber Logan Paul are in talks to engage in a political debate. Yes, you read that sentence correctly. 

Owens — best known for making false claims about the George Floyd protests, spreading COVID-19 misinformation, and seemingly saying that Adolf Hitler “just wanted to make Germany great” — first challenged Paul to a debate on Friday. It started with her sharing a year-old clip from Paul’s podcast where he spoke about the importance of fighting racism in the United States. 

“It is not enough to be ‘not racist.’ You have to be anti-racist,” he said.

“If you’re white, if you look like me, use your privilege,” he added. “And for those who do not think white privilege exists, you are fucking blind.” 

Because merely acknowledging the existence of racism appears to go against Owens’ core beliefs, she asked Paul to duke it out with her. 

“Logan loves to challenge people in the boxing ring,” she wrote. “I’d like to publicly challenge him to go a few rounds with me in a political debate. @LoganPaul—how about you stop by my show and explain to me how you’re *checks notes* more privileged than me because you’re white and I’m not?”

Spokesperson Confirms The Two Are in Talks

Paul  — best known for launching a boxing career and filming a YouTube video that showed a dead body in Japan’s “suicide forest” — said on Tuesday that he was “perplexed” by the offer, but was taking it seriously. 

I started to entertain this action, I ended up speaking with her, and there may be a future where we sit down and have a civil discourse because I think there’s some meat on this bone,” he said during the most recent episode of his “ImPaulsive” podcast. 

The internet star acknowledged that Owens’ main arena is politics, while his main arena is being a “fucking idiot” online. Still, he said he does care about these issues and has a “semi-intelligent brain,” so he thinks he could “hold [his] own.”

“Candace Owens, whether you can admit it or not, is a smart person,” Paul continued. “And so I guess I’m just curious because I just fucking fundamentally disagree with her and again, I think there’s room for a conversation.” 

A spokesperson for Owens confirmed to Insider on Wednesday that the two had a “productive” offline conversation and said a public political debate between the two is “very likely.”

“Although both of them disagree on a variety of topics, they are both much more interested in learning from one another and think people would benefit from hearing an honest discussion between two parties rather than a ‘gotcha’ moment that might play well for social media,” the spokesperson added.

See what others are saying: (Insider)

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Finneas Slams Billie Eilish Troll Account for Attributing Fake Quotes to the Singer

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Eilish’s big brother said the account is spreading “relentless lies” and asked that it at least label itself as a satire account.


Troll Account Shares Fake Billie Eilish Quotes

Billie Eilish’s brother and collaborator Finneas took to Twitter Tuesday to address an account that has been sharing fake quotes attributed to his sister.

The account uses the handle @BilliesUpdatess and goes by the name of “Billie Eilish Updates” in its profile. It was created in July of 2021 and as of Wednesday morning, it had amassed a following of 1,100 people. On a quick glance, it looks just like any other update account a fan might make to share news about their favorite celebrity.

@BilliesUpdatess, however, is far from the standard adoring fan page. Of the over 300 tweets it has posted, several include screenshots of forged articles that make it look like Eilish said something either offensive or totally outlandish. One post claims Eilish defended her boyfriend after he was accused of supporting former president Donald Trump.

“At the end of the day, I fucking love him you know?” the phony statement reads. “It doesn’t matter if he made some homophobic comments in the past, people change. If he [Matthew] supports Donald Trump then I don’t care if it makes him happy. I support EVERY decision Mathew has to make, even the ones some of my fans don’t agree with, like maybe some of his icky comments.”

Screenshot @BilliesUpdatess

In another sham passage, Eilish says she thinks queerbaiting “is a really good thing!” In several others, the person behind the account comes up with artificial quotes to make it looks like Eilish is feuding with “driver’s license” singer Olivia Rodrigo. 

Screenshot @BilliesUpdatess

One post with a fake article ended up being retweeted 12,000 times. That tweet included Eilish claiming she longs to be poor.

Screenshot @BilliesUpdatess

“When I got rich, I started balling my eyes out,” the fake piece says. “I wanted to be poor so I can relate to most of my fans. I still want to be broke and poor, it looks really fun and cute.”

Finneas Slams Account

As the troll account started to gain traction, Finneas asked that people report and block it to minimize the spread of its “relentless lies.”

On Tuesday, he responded to a fan that tagged him in the @BilliesUpdatess tweet alleging his sister wanted to be poor. 

“Fake obviously,” Finneas wrote. “Honestly I just wish they’d label this account satire like the onion or something. I have no problem with a joke as long as people know it’s a joke.”

Screenshot @BilliesUpdatess

The account made several jokes about the fact that Finneas was calling it out, but it seems Eilish’s big brother got what he asked for. @BilliesUpdatess added “parody account” to its bio and the account was deleted as of Wednesday afternoon.

See what others are saying: (NME) (Uproxx) (E! News)

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