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End of Week Production Notes 10/16/20: Days of Our Lives Pauses, Mad Max: Furiosa Gets Cast and More


Things are starting to settle in the world of production as shows have been back in business, and there’s less weekly bad news about the way the COVID pandemic has been affecting production.

Days of Our Lives
Photo: NBC/Chris Haston

That said, the NBC soap Days of Our Lives has suspended production for two weeks, according to Deadline, when one of the production team tested positive for COVID-19. The cast, crew and staff were notified about the shutdown via an email from Corday Productions, which produces the long-running soap along with Sony Pictures TV. The pause will not delay air dates as production is set to resume on October 26. The person who tested positive was put into isolation and contact tracing was completed so that those who had been in close contact with the person were placed in quarantine for 14 days while the show’s production facilities at Burbank Studios are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.

Days of Our Lives was one of the regular daytime shows that suspended production in March, although the show had enough previously-taped original episodes to keep its run going through October, so NBC only resumed production on September 1, well after other daytime dramas.

Obi Wan Kenobi
Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi (Photo: Lucasfilm)

Disney+‘s The Mandalorian series, spinning off from Lucasfilm‘s theatrical Star Wars blockbusters, has been a huge boom for the streamer, which will celebrate its first anniversary in early November. A week before that anniversary, Disney+ is releasing the first episode of the second season of the popular sci-fi action series, and according to Variety, word is that The Mandalorian Season 3 will begin “before the end of the year.” Meanwhile, actor Ewan McGregor will be reprising the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi for a planned Disney+ series that McGregor has said will begin shooting in March.

FilmLA President Paul Adley doesn’t think that full on-location filming in the city will return until next spring “at the earliest,” although he also said that things have rebounded slightly in the third quarter of 2020.

FilmLA complied data, showing that on-location feature film shoot days were down 64% from the third quarter last year, TV dramas and pilots were down 73% and 90% respectively from last year, but reality TV shows and commercials, their on-location shooting days were down only 54.5%. Even so, the third quarter wasn’t down nearly as much from last year, as you can see in the charts below.

LAFilmI’m not sure if that is necessarily a silver lining, because it still shows that ALL L.A. on-location filming is down, probably for obvious reasons. (It rhymes with Ovid.) Adley added with the release of the report, “No way it will be back at normal numbers this year, or until next spring at the earliest.”

As you can see in LAFilm’s chart below, production has already been steadily increasing since June after things completely shut down for a number of months due to the pandemic.

LA Film

Prop Master Scott Reeder has been providing a few insider secrets on his Instagram and TikTok feeds, and they’re starting to go viral! Check out one of them below.

Mad Max
Charlize Theron as Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road (Photo: Warner Bros.)

Director George Miller is moving ahead with his planned sequel Mad Max: Furiosa with the casting of Anya Taylor-Joy, playing the title role, previously played by Charlize Theron in the 2015 Oscar-winner, Mad Max Fury Road. She will be joined by Chris Hemsworth i.e. Thor from the MCU movies and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II from Aquaman and HBO‘s Watchmen.  Miller is once again directing and co-producing with Doug Mitchell, having co-written the script with Nick Lathouris. Most of Miller’s award-winning team from Mad Max: Fury Road will be returning, including Production Designer Colin Gibson, Editor Margaret Sixel, Sound Mixer Ben Osmo, and Makeup Designer Lesley Vanderwalt.

Oscar-winning Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, ASC, AMC, has been stumping for Apple by showing off the filming capabilities of the new iPhone 12 via a commercial shot using the new smartphone’s HDR Video and Dolby Vision capabilities. You can watch that below:

In the category of “Why on earth are they making this movie?” came word that Walt Disney Pictures is moving forward in developing a film based on the Disney theme parks’ Space Mountain road, and presumably said movie will also be a “roller coaster ride.” There is no word about who might direct, the cast or even where and when it might film but it’s currently in development.

You can read more about other productions and when and where they’ll start up again in Below the Line‘s regularly-updated Production Listings.

Coming 2 America
Photo: Paramount Pictures/Amazon

As production ramps up, the situation with theatrical distribution continues to get worse as Paramount Pictures decided to sell the Eddie Murphy sequel, Coming 2 America, to Amazon for a reported $125 million. It will still debut on December 18 but now it will only be available to watch via Amazon’s Prime Video rather than being in movie theaters. It’s another huge blow to the section of the industry that keeps losing major theatrical releases to streamers, following Disney’s decision earlier in the week to put the next Pixar Animation film, Soul, directed by Oscar-winner Pete Docter on its own streaming network Disney+ on Christmas Day. Other studios have mainly been delaying their movies until 2021 in hopes that the pandemic will have subsided. $125 million is a lot to spend to buy a movie for Amazon, but Jeff Bezos‘ mail order company has seemingly been thriving since the pandemic began.

With Disney-Pixar’s Soul arriving on the Disney+ streaming service in December, Disney released a second trailer for the Pete Doctor-directed animated movie, featuring the voices of Jamie Foxx and Tina Fey. You can check out that new trailer below:

Edward Douglas
Edward Douglas
Edward Douglas has written about movies for print and the internet for over 20 years, specializing in box office analysis, reviews, and interviews. Currently, he writes features for Below the Line and Above the Line, acting as Associate Editor for the former and Interim Editor for the latter.
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Vicon Introduces Mobile Mocap at SIGGRAPH

Motion capture systems developer Vicon is previewing a futuristic new “Mobile Mocap” technology at SIGGRAPH 2011 in Vancouver. Moving mocap out of the lab and into the field, Vicon's Mobile Mocap system taps several new technologies, many years in the making. At the heart of Mobile Mocap is a very small lipstick-sized camera that enables less obtrusive, more accurate facial animation data. The new cameras capture 720p (1280X720) footage at 60 frames per second. In addition, a powerful processing unit synchronizes, stores, and wirelessly transmits the data, all in a tiny wearable design.

Beowulf and 3-D