Jurassic World: Dominion resumed filming in England last month, armed with a 107-page safety manual and $9 million worth of related expenses, including the cost of renting out an entire hotel for 20 weeks and acquiring 18,000 COVID-19 tests.
As reported by the New York Times, the $200 million production is paving the way for other studios to resume production on major projects in a time when it is all but impossible to film in the United States. The amount of precaution being taken is understandably high, which was a caveat of the film’s A-list cast agreeing to return to work during the pandemic. “Until now, actors were not really included in prep,” Jurassic World star Bryce Dallas Howard said in a phone interview with the Times. “But in order to get any of us on a plane, we had to thoroughly understand the protocols, who was involved and hear second and third opinions. We are the guinea pigs who are going to take the leap.”
Part of those protocols include dividing the production’s massive crew (which numbers in the area of 750 people) into two groups – the majority of the crew, which do not need to be on hand during filming, and the Green Zone, comprised of the cast and essential crew that need to interact while cameras are rolling. Every member of the Green Zone is tested for the virus three times a week, and the sets are fumigated with an antiviral mist before each day of shooting. The actors’ chairs are surrounded by orange social-distancing cones, and instead of trailers, the production has installed a Green Zone “living room” that requires everyone to wash their hands before they enter or exit. In addition, the production has installed 150 hand sanitizer stations for the cast and crew.
One reason Universal decided to restart a project as huge as Jurassic World: Dominion is because the shoot is primarily utilizing sets rather than physical locations, and the cast is relatively small. The measures the studio is taking with its gargantuan sequel is serving as a guidelines for other major productions that have recently restarted, including the Avatar sequels in New Zealand and Marvel’s Shang-Chi in Australia. However, considering the enormous price tag associated with implementing this level of safety protocols essentially means that nothing but the biggest blockbusters will be able to resume production anytime soon.