Just three days after returning to set in the United Kingdom, director Matt Reeve's The Batman has temporarily stalled production for the second time as a crew member tested positive for the novel coronavirus. According to a report from Vanity Fair, that crew member was none other than the movie's central star: Robert Pattinson.
"A member of The Batman production has tested positive for COVID-19, and is isolating in accordance with established protocols. Filming is temporarily paused," a representative for Warner Bros. said in a statement to the outlet. The studio did not confirm the person's identity, although VF writes that "other highly placed sources" were able to confirm that it was Pattinson.
The DC blockbuster shut down its shoot back in March after shooting about 25 percent of its script, which Reeves wrote with Mattson Tomlin (Netflix's Project Power). The director saw the hiatus as a golden chance to fine tune some of the bigger action set pieces. Filming resumed this week at the WB-owned Leavesden Studios just outside of London.
Until a COVID-19 vaccine is widely available, this herky-jerky approach will be the new normal for a while. Live-action film and television projects need to be overly cautious as they return to work, so as not to see a wild spread of the respirartory disease to every single member of the crew.
For example, Colin Trevorrow's Jurassic World: Dominion re-entered production in July and despite stricter safety measures (including three mandatory COVID tests a week), four individuals in the second unit reportedly tested positive for the virus while shooting in Malta. As a result, Universal scaled back its presence on the island nation. While the stop-and-start method is an inconvenience that costs both time and money, it also ensures that the health of individuals comes first.
After losing out on the central role in Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy, Pattinson (The Lighthouse, Tenet) will be playing a younger Bruce Wayne in The Batman. The supporting cast is comprised of several familiar Gotham City regulars, like Commissioner Gordon (Jeffrey Wright), Catwoman (Zoë Kravitz), Riddler (Paul Dano), and Penguin (Colin Farrell), and Carmine Falcone (John Turturro).
Peter Sarsgaard ("Gotham DA Gil Colson"), Jayme Lawson (Gotham mayoral hopeful "Bella Reál"), and Andy Serkis ("Alfred Pennyworth") co-star
"For me, the idea of this story was a story of Gotham, which has this depth of corruption, and the idea that we could go deeper into an aspect of it," Reeves said during the virtual panel. "Which in this case is the corrupt police department and the corrupt inner workings of the city. We go back to year one and it's the beginning, the emergence, the first appearance of this masked vigilante that is unsettling the city and we see the story from the point of view of these corrupt cops."