With a few productions filming, there's hope in Hollywood, things can get back to as close to normal as possible. For actress Bryce Dallas Howard who's currently filming Jurassic World: Dominion, the new "normal" is being made up along the way as one of the first major projects to resume production. She spoke with the New York Times about the updated regulations from Universal and how things changed on set in light of the ongoing pandemic. "Until now, actors were not really included in prep," Howard said. "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." One of those protocols? She had to prep is her own mic with guidance from a boom operator in a mask.
The relative handful of productions resuming are upcoming blockbusters like Jurassic World and The Matrix 4, which are predominantly filming overseas at the moment as California soundstages aren't cleared yet. Others like the Avatar sequels are filming in New Zealand. Sony's Uncharted is filming in Berlin. Universal set up a 107-page manual, and other studios are looking to follow with infrared temperature scanners, vacuum-sealed meals provided by masked workers from a takeout-only cafeteria. The studio divided Dominion's production into two categories. The larger is made up of the departments that don't need access to the set during filming, like construction and props. The Green Zone includes the director, cast, and only essential crew like camera operators and the sound department. Those in the Green Zone, according to Howard, receive COVID-19 tests three times a week, and the sets are fogged with an antiviral mist before each use. Chairs actors sit in between takes are surrounded by orange cones to maintain social distancing. For longer downtime, a Green Zone "living room" is available with appropriate furniture. Every time someone leaves the living room, they're to maintain handwashing protocol. Director Colin Trevorrow, who also directed the 2015 original, opined on what the protocols mean for everyone. "We are able for this little moment to be in the world that we're creating and leave the rest of the world behind," he said.
Trevorrow mentioned how important it is for cast and crew to feel comfortable and that as the key to bring those like the Jurassic Park trio on board. "For Laura Dern, Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum, and all our actors, they were very cautious," he said. "But knowing that we would all be safe together is what really moved the needle. If they hadn't been willing to come, nothing could have happened." The director broke down what's typical on the schedule. "We rehearse on Sundays after Frisbee, every scene that we're going to shoot that week," he continued. "We work dialogue together. All of those questions that usually come up on set — 'Why would my character say this?' — all of that is addressed before." Cast and crew were required to quarantine for 14 days prior to arrival before filming began. Those who test positive were placed back into quarantine for 14 days. "After being on set, all of us actors hope that these protocols stay in place," Howard said. "Because they are improvements. Nothing feels like a redundancy; nothing feels annoying. It is, in a sense, a safety reckoning that still feels like a good idea in a post-COVID-vaccine world." Jurassic World: Dominion also stars Chris Pratt, Jake Johnson, BD Wong, Dichan Lachman, Omar Sy, and Justice Smith is set for release for June 11, 2021.