- Production for “The Batman” was paused last week, just two days after filming restarted in the U.K.
- Warner Bros. explained that a member of production tested positive for COVID-19, and several outlets later named the film’s star, Robert Pattinson, as the infected crew member.
- Pattison and those who came in contact with him are under quarantine and it’s unclear if filming will need to be delayed for more than two weeks at this point.
- Figures in the British film industry have expressed confidence in existing safety protocols, but if the case is not contained, it could serve as a cautionary tale as the industry works to convince talent and crew that filming can be done safely.
- The case also underscores why insurers are refusing to cover costs related to COVID-19 in any new policies.
Crew Member Tests Positive
For months now, the entertainment industry has been intensely focused on how to safely restart productions amid the coronavirus pandemic. By July and August, a handful of projects begin filming with strict quarantine procedures, limits to crew size, PPE requirements, regular testing schedules, and other safety measures.
That appears to have been working well since there have been few reports of positive tests and no production halts due to outbreaks that we know of. With all of that looking good, it seemed like more production houses could be ready to move projects down the pipeline as well.
That was at least until reports surfaced that Robert Pattison had tested positive for Coronavirus in the U.K. just two days after resuming production for “The Batman.”
Warner Bros. didn’t name Pattinson in its announcement last week. Instead, it said: “A member of The Batman production has tested positive for Covid-19, and is isolating in accordance with established protocols. Filming is temporarily paused.”
However, several outlets, including the New York Times, CNN, and Vanity Fair, later cited sources that named Pattinson as the infected individual. That’s huge news since he’s the star of the film, but right now, there aren’t a lot of details about how he’s doing or how he was exposed to the virus.
What This Delay Could Mean for the Industry
Filming previously shut down in March when the coronavirus forced sets to close, but with this positive case, this film will definitely be delayed even longer.
A source familiar with U.K. filming protocols told Variety that anyone with a positive coronavirus test needs to quarantine for a minimum of 10 days. After that, they can be cleared for work if a subsequent test comes back negative and they show no symptoms. Other productions have required at least two negative tests, and no COVID-19 symptoms for at least 72 hours.
Right now, its unknown exactly how long Pattison’s absence will last, especially since we don’t know anything about how he’s doing. On top of that, anyone who came within six feet of him for more than 15 minutes needs to isolate, regardless of whether or not they test positive.
That could mean any number of actors, stunt performers, or any other crew members that support him through the shoot, including the film’s director Matt Reeves, depending on how close he came to Pattison during filming. If any of those people test positive, that means more have to quarantine, which means the situation could get worse for the film pretty quickly.
It’s unclear how strict the film was with its procedures, but there’s a good chance this could be well contained.
Some figures in the British film industry expressing confidence in existing protocols, like Adrian Wootton, chief executive of the British Film Commission and Film London. He told Variety, “We know that productions in the U.K. are rigorously following British Film Commission guidance with robust health and safety procedures in place, including stringent testing regimes, which is why any case of coronavirus can be rapidly identified and appropriate self-isolating procedures implemented.”
However, if the virus is not contained, the movie could serve as a cautionary tale for other sets, and it’s already underscoring major issues that the industry faces as it tries to get productions rolling.
For example, now more than ever, production houses need to convince their talent and crew that filming can be done safely. On top of that, they’re dealing with insurers who don’t want to be held liable for COVID related delays.
Since “The Batman” started filming before the pandemic forced shutdowns, there’s a chance this might not be a big problem for them. Still, according to some reports, more insurers are updating their wording to exclude COVID coverage in new policies because no insurer wants to be responsible for millions of dollars for overrun productions when the likelihood of that happening seems high.
Pattinson’s case could have more far-reaching effects depending on how it plays out because if there turns out to be an outbreak, it pretty much becomes the worst-case scenario for everyone involved.
As far as “The Batman,” there have been some rumors floating around that filming continued after the positive test. Those rumors stem from a DailyMail report, but the claims have since been rejected by a source close to the filmmakers. According to Variety, crew members are still doing construction work on sets and props, but people who were in contact with Pattison are quarantining and contract tracing was underway as of last week. As it stands, it’s pretty unlikely that any shooting will happen for at least the next two weeks.
See what others are saying: (Variety) (Vanity Fair) (The New York Times)
Chris Evans Dismisses Reports of His Possible MCU Return
- Deadline published an article Thursday reporting that Chris Evans was in talks to return to his role as Captain American for at least one future Marvel production.
- The news was unexpected as Evans retired from the role following 2019’s “Avengers: Endgame.”
- After the rumor became a trending topic, Evans tweeted, “News to me.”
Deadline Reports Evans Is Coming Back to the MCU
According to Deadline, actor Chris Evans is in talks to return to his iconic role as Captain America in at least one upcoming Marvel project.
However, according to Evans himself, that rumor is “news to me.”
Evans trended online Thursday following Deadline’s report, which stated that the actor could return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in up to two projects.
Reportedly, the roles would not be for an Evans-led “Captain America” film; rather, they would be more akin to Robert Downey Jr’s role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe post-“Iron Man 3.”
Evans Said Goodbye To Captain America in 2019
Evans’ subsequent tweet appears to indicate that the actor has no plans to return as Captain America.
Indeed, the reports of Evans’ return were unexpected as the actor has been vocal about 2019’s “Avengers: Endgame” being his last outing as the character.
“Officially wrapped on Avengers 4,” Evans said in 2018. “It was an emotional day to say the least. Playing this role over the last 8 years has been an honor. To everyone in front of the camera, behind the camera, and in the audience, thank you for the memories! Eternally grateful.”
In addition to Evans’ own desire to retire from the role, the character of Captain America (AKA, Steve Rogers) was given a firm conclusion in “Endgame.”
In its original article, Deadline explained that while Evans was initially adamant about not returning to the role, he has been more open to the idea in recent months.
So far, Marvel has not confirmed or denied the reports, but it might not be unfathomable to think that Evans’ could return to the role at some point, even if Thursday’s rumors are false.
For example, Downey Jr. is set to briefly reprise his role as Iron Man in Scarlett Johansson’s upcoming “Black Widow,” despite Downey Jr also retiring from his role in “Endgame.”
See what others are saying: (The Hollywood Reporter) (CNET) (Insider)
Warner Media Defends DC Films President Following Accusations From Ray Fisher
- Warner Media said it does not believe DC Films President Walter Hamada interfered with misconduct investigations on the set of reshoots for “Justice League.”
- Ray Fisher, who plays Cyborg in DC films, previously alleged that director Joss Whedon created an abusive and unprofessional work environment on set, adding that Whedon was enabled by executives Geoff Johns and Jon Berg.
- He also claimed Hamada tried to throw Whedon and Berg under the bus to protect Johns, who is his friend, despite knowing about his involvement in the issues.
Issues on the Set of The Justice League
Warner Media is standing by DC Film President Walter Hamada after actor Ray Fisher claimed the executive inferred with investigations into misconduct on the set of reshoots for “Justice League.”
Fisher has played Cyborg in “Justice League” and other DC projects. Back in July, he alleged that director Joss Whedon created a “gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable” work environment during reshoots for “Justice League.”
Whedon stepped in to replace Zack Snyder, who was originally directing the 2017 film until he had to leave because of a death in his family.
Fisher says that Whedon’s behavior was enabled by Geoff Johns, who was the DC Entertainment president at the time before transitioning to a new role at Warner Brothers, as well as Jon Berg, who was the co-president of production at Warner Brothers until the end of 2017.
Warner opened an investigation into the claims and announced in December that it had concluded. The studio said remedial action had been taken but did not give details. Though, just weeks earlier, news broke that Whedon was leaving his show at HBO and Warner Media, effectively parting ways with the studio.
The studio and Fisher sparred online throughout the investigation and after it was over. In September, “Aquaman” actor Jason Momoa showed support for Fisher and also claimed people on set were mistreated.
“Serious stuff went down,” he wrote on Instagram. “It needs to be investigated and people need to be held accountable.”
“Wonder Woman” star Gal Gadot eventually expressed support for Fisher’s choice to speak out in December.
Fisher Claims Hamada Interfered in Investigation
Despite the investigation ending, Fisher still lodged complaints at the studio alleging that Hamada had interfered with the investigation in an effort to cover for Johns, who was a friend of his. At the end of 2020, Fisher said he did not want to work on any production involving Hamada.
On Wednesday, he confirmed that Warner Bros. decided to remove Cyborg from the upcoming film “The Flash.” He said that while he disagreed, he was not surprised.
“While I do mourn the lost opportunity to bring Victor Stone back to the screen, bringing awareness to the actions of Walter Hamada will prove to be a much more important contribution to our world,” he wrote.
Fisher said that when he tried to escalate his concerns about Whedon, Johns, and Berg on the “Justice League” set to Hamada, Hamda attempted to throw Whedon and Berg under the bus to save Johns. Fisher said that he alerted Hamada that Johns was in fact involved with the issues at hand, but Hamada allegedly responded by asking for names of more witnesses and dismissing the claims.
“Walter Hamada interfering with the ‘Justice League’ investigation is a completely separate issue than the investigation itself,” Fisher wrote. “And while Walter’s behavior was not a point of focus for the investigation of the ‘Justice League’ reshoots, his dangerous and enabling actions during the investigation process must be called to account.”
“No one, in any profession, should have to argue with their employer for their claims of abuse,” he continued before saying Hamada was “unfit” for a position in leadership.
He said that if ending his tenure playing Cyborg was the price he had to pay to bring awareness to Hamada’s actions, that he would “pay it gladly.”
Warner Media Stands By Hamada
On Thursday morning Warner Media contradicted Fisher’s remarks and stood by Hamada.
“I believe in Walter Hamada and that he did not impede or interfere in the investigation,” WarnerMedia chair and CEO Ann Sarnoff said in a statement. “Furthermore, I have full confidence in the investigation’s process and findings. Walter is a well-respected leader, known by his colleagues, peers, and me as a man of great character and integrity.”
Warner Media also said that they remain in business with Johns, who produces a number of projects at the studio.
See what others are saying: (The Hollywood Reporter) (The Wrap) (Entertainment Weekly)
Belle Delphine Responds To Outrage After Tweeting Out Graphic Photos
- Adult content creator Belle Delphine sparked outrage after tweeting graphic sexual photos of herself roleplaying a kidnapping situation.
- Many accused her of glorifying rape and even pedophilia, arguing that she was dressed like a child. Others criticized her for not including a content warning and potentially triggering assault survivors.
- Delphine issued a statement refusing to apologize, saying, “There is nothing wrong with enjoying powerplay and BDSM where both people are consensual.” She also said those who require trigger warnings before posts should not follow her.
CONTENT WARNING: The photos in this article and the discussion around
them involve explicit sexual content, rape, and kidnapping.
Belle Delphine Sparks Outrage
Adult content creator Belle Delphine received immediate backlash Tuesday after tweeting out graphic sexual photos of herself roleplaying as an apparent kidnapping victim.
“My perfect first date,” she captioned her post. The photos show Delphine in the back of a car with her legs and wrists bound by ropes. Her mouth is also covered by duct tape. In one specific image, a man who appears to be her “kidnapper” is having sex with her against a tree in the woods.
Soon after posting the photos, Twitter users accused her of fetishizing and glorifying rape. Some even argued that she was glorifying pedophilia as well because she appeared to be dressed like a child.
That type of defense was slammed as well, with critics saying there were still other problems with her post. For instance, many noted that her tweet did not include a content or trigger warning. They described that choice as irresponsible given the explicit nature of the photos, which could bring pain to rape and assault survivors.
Others argued that even though this situation was consensual, without the context, some might see these photos and internally normalize rape. They also noted that people who see the images might not be aware or any safe words or other signals that could have been agreed upon beforehand.
The issue isn’t having this kink, it’s the fact that a lot of males here will see this and think this is normal. They don’t know about the safe words, long discussions, and therapy that take place before engaging in a scene like this. They just see rape.— amelia (@ameIia_says) January 13, 2021
Delphine Defends Herself
Delphine addressed the backlash Wednesday, saying she is “not sorry.”
“There is nothing wrong with enjoying powerplay and BDSM where both people are consensual. I think saying because I enjoy consensual non-consent is promoting rape, is the same as the argument that violence in video games promotes violence,” she wrote.
“I made it very clear in the caption of my photo, and anything written about it that I was enjoying it and that is was consensual, I never said the word rape, or anything against my will. This is what other people have put onto it.”
She also said it was “insane” to her that people thought she was dressed like a child. She described the outfit as “vintage” and said that other people dress like this all the time.
“If it’s about how I genetically look I can’t change that and I will not apologize for it either nor will I stop being sexual since I am a sexually active adult,” she added.
“No one likes rape, no one wants rape to exist,” she continued. “Saying that I support rape is the same as saying that 50% of the female population does, because if you look at statistics based upon this (from studies done over the last 30 years, including new studies) 31-61% of women have powerplay/rape fantasies in the exact same way. I consented to being tied up and to having rough sex.”
Delphine said that the front page of porn sites has every “fantasy scenario” a person can think of, from incest to teacher to stepmom and that one of the most common sexual fantasies is a schoolgirl.
“Just because someone likes the fantasy of something, doesn’t mean they want it in real life. Sex is complex and explorative, but should always be consensual,” she wrote.
When it comes to people upset that she did not include a trigger warning, she said that because her job involves this kind of content, people who would be upset by this should not follow here.
“My whole Twitter/OnlyFans have constant themes of kink since I do porn as a job and I will not put a trigger warning on all of my posts,” she said. “Do not follow me if you require trigger warnings before posts.”