With filming already restarting for some films and TV series, with more and more added daily, all eyes are on how studios and production companies handle COVID-19 safety protocols. We’ve already heard of studios, such as Universal (who is producing “Jurassic World: Dominion”), handing out books to cast and crew about all the procedures. And we’ve unfortunately already seen a number of positive tests, including Robert Pattinson from “The Batman” set. But all things considered, it appears that everyone is taking these precautions seriously. Well, almost everyone, as the Michael Bay-produced film “Songbird” is currently coming under attack for perhaps not following the procedures as the production should.
As seen in a recent report from THR, stories are beginning to surface from the set of “Songbird” that seem to paint the picture of a film production that is rushing through filming and sidestepping the protocols that might hinder it. The stories are coming from an anonymous source that was recently employed on the set of “Songbird,” who shows that the film isn’t necessarily following all of the rules.
For those unfamiliar, “Songbird” is produced by Bay and directed by Adam Mason. The film is inspired by the current COVID pandemic and is set in the near future where lockdowns are still in place and the virus has mutated and is still a very real threat. Filming of the indie thriller was supposed to be one of the first to begin in the post-pandemic era and only take 19 days. Of course, when you’re one of the first and you’re trying to rush, apparently things begin to slip through the cracks.
“Some of the protocols went out the window because there isn’t time in the day to get done what needs to get done in order to shoot a feature film in that many days,” said the anonymous insider. “It’s a slippery slope, because once certain protocols aren’t taken seriously, it becomes, ‘Well, I don’t really have to be 6 feet away.’”
They added, “They were not monitoring. They were almost like a production assistant, where you’re like, ‘Hey, go get so-and-so another mask!’ There was no one looking at me, saying, ‘Stop what you’re doing and put on a face shield.’ And to me, that should have happened.”
As you might suspect, producers of “Songbird” don’t agree with this assessment and feel that the production has been doing the best it can, abiding by all the necessary protocols.
“I personally didn’t witness any of that,” said producer Jason Clark. “I feel like, as much as humanly possible, we ran a safe set.”
Producer Jeanette Volturno added, “When you’re the first out, it’s challenging because you’re figuring out what works and what doesn’t work and what needs to be adjusted.”
Of course, there’s probably not going to be definitive answers about what did or didn’t happen on the set of “Songbird.” However, if the allegations are true, we’re seeing what could be a troubling trend of studios trying to rush through productions to get content ready while doing barely enough (or sometimes not enough) to prevent the spread of COVID. And for a film like “Songbird,” you’d hate for the fiction to become a reality.