Happiest Season has become a massive hit for Hulu and it's one of the biggest new holiday offerings of 2020, a year when we probably need more of that sort of content than usual. While we're all trying to keep our distance from other people a movie about getting together with family, even if that family is insane, could be just what we all need. However, it turns out that the reality of 2020 actually hit the production of Happiest Season pretty hard, as Aubrey Plaza recently revealed that coronavirus actually worked its way through the set while the movie was filming.
Aubrey Plaza, who plays the role of Riley in Happiest Season, revealed during a recent appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert that when the film was in production at the beginning of the year, before COVID-19 was really a known quantity in the U.S., the virus apparently worked its way though the set, getting several of the cast and crew sick, including one of the film's stars. According to Plaza...
Yes, right before COVID, in fact, COVID was on our set. Kristen [Stewart] got sick but we didn't know... a lot of people got sick.
It wasn't until about mid-March that the U.S. began to go into lockdown around the country in response to the coronavirus. Prior to that, it's true that a lot of people simply weren't paying the situation much attention, and for those that were busy filming a movie, there was probably even less focus on it. Aubrey Plaza's comments make it sound like, at the time, there really wasn't an understanding of exactly what was making people sick. It was likely believed at the time to just be the flu, and people only put the pieces together after the fact.
The good news is that, while several people apparently got sick, it doesn't sound like things were very serious. It doesn't appear anybody got seriously ill, and perhaps because the people involved were making a movie, they were limiting exposure beyond themselves. Aubrey Plaza goes on that it was only as the movie was wrapping up that public conversation around coronavirus began to get serious and she began to understand what had been happening...
It was the last week of February so people were starting, it was like that zone where people were starting to talk about coronavirus, but people were laughing about it. No one understood how serious it was. But a bunch of people on our set got sick. I didn't, thank god.
Because all this happened so early it seems likely that there's simply an assumption that the virus that moved through the set was COVID-19. There likely wasn't testing done simply because it was so early, but based on what we know now, it's likely the pieces could be put together. Certainly it's a good thing that there were no significant lasting effects from all this, and everybody was able to complete work on Happiest Season, a film that is bringing a lot of joy to a lot of people right now.