songbird covid protocols

Songbird, a new thriller movie produced by Michael Bay which filmed in Los Angeles this summer, seems to have had a shaky journey through production.

A recent article quotes a source from the film’s set, and the source accuses the movie of not following all of the proper COVID-19 safety protocols during its short 19-day shoot. Get the alleged Songbird COVID details below.

Songbird takes place two years in the future, when the pandemic has mutated and lockdowns have become more intense. The film stars Riverdale‘s K.J. Apa as Nico, a motorbike courier with immunity to the virus, as he develops a relationship with a young artist named Sara, played by Descendants star Sofia Carson. In order to get back to her, Nico “must overcome martial law, murderous vigilantes and a powerful, well connected family, helmed by a matriarch who will stop at nothing to protect her family and maintain her way of life.” Demi Moore (A Few Good Men) plays the matriarch, while Bradley Whitford (The West Wing), Craig Robinson (The Office), Jenna Ortega (Jane the Virgin), Paul Walter Hauser (I, Tonya), and Peter Stormare (Fargo) are all on board as co-stars.

The Hollywood Reporter spoke with someone who was on the set, and the picture that person paints about how the production treated safety precautions does not exactly sound ideal:

“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,” says the insider of the 19-day shoot. That meant having sets that were more crowded than they probably should have been, changing lighting after actors had already come to set, and failing to sanitize objects before other crewmembers touched them. “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,’ ” says the source, who also felt that the designated COVID-19 monitor wasn’t around as much as they should have been. “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.”

Like I said: not ideal. I have a feeling this type of thing has happened to some degree on every single production that’s gotten back up and running since the pandemic began, though, so it feels a little unfair to single out Songbird like this. (Sorry, Songbird.) For every crew member to follow every rule on every film set in this era, they’re going to need intense enforcement. And when time is running out to finish the day, the enforcer is going to have to prioritize safety over making the day – which, given the high-pressure work environment with lots of money hanging in the balance, I imagine will be a difficult choice for some folks to make.

Hopefully the newly-signed deal between Hollywood studios and the unions regarding COVID protocols will result in safer sets throughout the entire industry. But it’s going to take lots of work, and a dramatic overhaul of the typical production norms. Best of luck to everyone out there in those trenches.

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