Filming for Matt Reeves’ The Batman has been suspended after Robert Pattinson reportedly tested positive for the coronavirus. The latest delay is symptomatic of the industry's struggle to safely operate during the global health crisis.
Filming was initially interrupted in March due to the pandemic and production had only just resumed when Warner Bros. announced that filming was “temporarily paused” as “a member of ‘The Batman’ production has tested positive for Covid-19."
The New York Times reports that two people with knowledge of the production confirmed Pattinson as the cast member, though the studio has declined to comment beyond the statement issued.
Just weeks ago, Pattinson told fans at DC Comics' virtual FanDome event, "As many of you probably already know, we were in the beginning stages of production when COVID hit, so now I'm very anxious to get back to work and continue to form this beloved character."
The persistent interruptions to The Batman reflect a trend across the film industry as studios balance audience expectations, regional restrictions, and the safety concerns of their employees.
Right now, the global production industry is engaged in a complex game of international chess as locations around the world open and close according to infection rates. Meanwhile, the sets themselves look vastly different and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
For a start, you're likely to see a lot fewer crowd scenes until a vaccine is made available. The Washington Post predicts that until then, there'll be fewer night scenes, which tend to be more intensive and expensive. Romantic scenes will also be a challenge, for obvious reason, so prepare for a lot more sexual tension.
Jurassic World: Dominion was one of the first major Hollywood studio films to resume. Actor Bryce Dallas Howard explained that “in order to get any of us on a plane, we had to thoroughly understand the protocols, who was involved and hear second and third opinions. We are the guinea pigs who are going to take the leap.”
Bringing a film together often requires a cast and crew of thousands, and protocols should be implemented to protect everyone on set. These ever-shifting protocols are proving extremely expensive, and it's predicted that independent films will suffer the most. “It's a fucking mess right now with the insurance companies and the bond companies. They are reeling from how much liability they're going to have,” a lawyer revealed to the Hollywood Reporter, “For indies, a bank's not going to loan you money if there's a COVID exception."