COVID-19

What will Hollywood look like when it finally reopens?

Jasmine Garsd Apr 28, 2020
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The Walt Disney Studios in Los Angeles halted production April 8. Amy Sussman/Getty Images
COVID-19

What will Hollywood look like when it finally reopens?

Jasmine Garsd Apr 28, 2020
The Walt Disney Studios in Los Angeles halted production April 8. Amy Sussman/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

A couple of weeks ago, actress Kiki Melendez had an audition for the TV show “NCIS.” But she was told not to come in.

“I sent it to them. You know, I recorded myself and sent it to them.” Melendez hasn’t heard back yet; NCIS halted production due to COVID-19.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought Hollywood to a screeching halt. That’s a huge part of California’s economy. It means job losses for everyone from on-screen talent to caterers, makeup artists and camera operators, just to name a few. And even when Hollywood does restart, a lot will change. There’s talk of on-set staff getting tested regularly for the coronavirus. Studios are reportedly thinking of limiting the use of extras.

“That is horrible for the industry,” Melendez said. “I mean, when I first came here, that was how I got all my experience. That’s how I supported myself. “

Other ideas are also on the table, said Frank Patterson, president of Pinewood Atlanta Studios, where Marvel movies like “The Avengers” are filmed.

“One of the ideas that a number of the studios are working on is quarantining those teams, having them stay together or work together and travel together,” Patterson said.

He expects less filming on location — it’s just easier to control a closed studio environment than, say, the streets of New York. 

And the big question, of course, is when is this all going to happen? Some studios are hoping to start up again in July, but many say a fall reopening is more realistic.

“We don’t know when reentry will take place, but we want to be prepared,” said Colleen Bell, executive director of the California Film Commission.

She said she’s having ongoing discussions about what it will look like. Because one thing is for sure: When Hollywood finally gets back to business, it won’t be business as usual. 

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

Will the federal government extend the extra COVID-19 unemployment benefits?

It’s still unclear. Congress and President Donald Trump are deciding whether to extend the extra $600 a week in unemployment benefits workers are getting because of the pandemic. Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia believes the program should not be extended, and White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said the additional money is disincentivizing some workers from returning to their jobs. Democrats want to keep providing the money until January.

As states lift restrictions, are people going back to stores and restaurants?

States have relaxed their restrictions, and many of us have relaxed, too. Some people have started to make exceptions for visiting restaurants, if only for outdoor dining. Some are only going to places they trust are being extra cautious. But no one we’ve talked to has really gone back to normal. People just aren’t quite there yet.

Will surges in COVID-19 cases mean a return to lockdowns?

In many areas where businesses are reopening, cases of COVID-19 are trending upwards, causing some to ask if the lockdowns were lifted too soon, and if residents and businesses might have to go through it all again. So, how likely is another lockdown, of some sort? The answer depends on who you ask. Many local officials are now bullish about keeping businesses open to salvage their economies. Health experts, though, are concerned.

You can find answers to more questions here.

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