Deadline reports that “Sistas” will start shooting on July 8 and “The Oval” on July 28 at Perry’s Atlanta studio. Each show, both in their second season, will be shot separately and a list of safety measures will be put in place.
Most of the crew for each show is based in Atlanta. Cast members who live in New York and Los Angeles will be flown on a private jet that Perry will provide, and only those who test negative for COVID-19 will be allowed to board.
Cast, crew and Perry, who’s directing both shows, will be required to stay on the lot for the entire shoot, which will take two-and-a-half weeks for a 22-episode season to be completed.
The property — not all owned by Perry — has barracks since it used to be an army base, plus, 40 more houses the director had built. So housing everyone shouldn’t be an issue.
Everyone will have to be tested for the virus when they arrive on the lot, then quarantine in their room for four hours until results come back. That process will be repeated four times during the two-and-a-half-week shoot. A professor at Emory Vaccine Center, Carlos del Rio, will serve as a test consultant.
Perry talked about filming his shows again last month in an interview with Deadline and said it’s something that’s been on his mind considering all the people who today are out of work.
“Many people in Georgia depend on these jobs for their livelihood,” he explained. “I started thinking about what a return would look like and how I could create a safe environment so people could work again with some peace of mind.”
He added, “my initial hope was to have rapid testing — five-minute test results and then everyone cleared goes to work. When I saw that, I thought that was a game-changer. But upon a lot of investigation I realized that there wasn’t the reagent for the rapid test, there wasn’t the swab for the test, there weren’t the cartridges for the test, so everything that had the promise of the test on a federal level turned out not to be so.”
“Sistas” and “The Oval” will be the first primetime live-action shows in the country to begin shooting since COVID-19 shut down all production.
But NBC News reports that other countries like New Zealand already have resumed production after the government approved a measure of safety protocols submitted by the local film industry. With that, only 500 people or less are allowed to gather at once while on set.