California Gov. Gavin Newsom gave the green light for Hollywood to resume film and TV production on June 12, after the coronavirus pandemic forced a three-month hiatus on the entertainment industry.
As studios begin to resume production in staged reopenings, the industry will be making some big changes to minimize health risks during the coronavirus and to protect the safety of the cast and crew. And the pandemic could affect the kinds of intimate scenes you might be used to watching.
Some of these changes are obvious, such as social distancing and wearing masks whenever possible, as well as daily symptom monitoring, manual screening, and temperature spot-checks. Predictably, buffet-style craft services spreads will be a thing of the past.
To address these issues, Hollywood labor unions joined forces with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers in producing a white paper, “Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee Task Force,” to outline proposed health and safety guidelines ahead of the June 12 reopening. Hollywood’s biggest studios including Disney, Netflix, Sony, and Warner Bros. provided input on the paper, with the hope that these new protocols will be adopted going forward.
However, the very nature of the entertainment industry presents its own unique challenges. One section outlining “special considerations for cast and crew working in close proximity to performers” concedes that some cast and crew members may not be able to perform their job duties while maintaining physical distancing from others.
For example, hairstylists, makeup artists, and wardrobe department personnel may have to interact with cast members in instances where it’s impractical or impossible for both parties to be wearing a mask, such as while applying makeup.
This also goes for actors performing in scenes where they must be in close proximity to one another. In the event that maintaining physical distancing is not possible or performers cannot wear appropriate PPE, the paper advises that contact must be kept to the shortest amount of time and that the number of people involved in close proximity with a performer should be kept to a minimum.
In other words, we can probably rule out seeing fight scenes or sex scenes for the indefinite future, as “certain activities such as fight scenes or intimate scenes increase the risk of transmission.”
Instead, the paper suggests considering workarounds to minimize scenes with close contact between performers. These measures may include reworking scripts to rewrite these scenes or even producing digital effects to make it appear as if the actors are in close proximity to each other.