Saturday, August 29, 2020

"Babylon" to begin filming in early 2021

An obscure article was posted on Awards Watch yesterday, describing how Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand's upcoming film, Macbeth, was able to film during the pandemic. Location manager Chris Baugh is currently in demand among film producers for having effectively implemented Covid protocols on set. I'll let your read the details, but the logistics of it are pretty staggering. I work in healthcare so I know all too well the tedium of appropriate use of PPE, social distancing, sanitization, screening, and testing protocols. Suffice it to say it's kind of a nightmare. When they're rigidly adhered to, however, the strategies actually allow people to work at a much lower risk. That seems to be the case in film as well, with zero positive tests resulting in the Macbeth filming. 

At the very end of the article, Baugh is quoted as saying that he'll soon be working on Damien Chazelle's Babylon, which is apparently set to begin shooting "early next year."  

So, a couple of things. One, Meryl at this point is still only rumored to be cast in this film. And even if she was officially cast, we don't know if she'll choose to stay attached amid Covid uncertainties. She is, after all, in an age demographic that is at higher risk of severe complications if infected. Two, we don't know what "early" means in regard to a 2021 production schedule. That could mean January, or as late as March. Having read the script, this is the type of movie I would expect to be a bit tedious in post. There are a lot of scenes and a lot of people doing a lot of things in some of them. Aside from that being a logistical nightmare from a Covid procedures standpoint, it probably won't be swift to edit. 

If shooting gets underway by January or February, we can probably expect more casting updates relatively soon, and a possibility that they'll be able to keep their late 2021 release date. If it doesn't start until March or April, I think even a December release would be a bit tricky. And who knows if they had planned for fall festivals?

Stay tuned for future updates on Meryl's potential involvement. I'd love to see her in this project, assuming it can be completed safely. 


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