Dwayne Johnson’s Red Notice is one of the many films that had to adjust its approach to production due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The upcoming Netflix film originally began production back in January before halting in March due to the onset of the pandemic. Filming eventually restarted in Atlanta by September, with plenty of COVID-19 protocols in place. Red Notice later wrapped in November, and Johnson and co-star Ryan Reynolds marked the achievement with some sweet social media posts. And for Netflix officials, there’s just something special about wrapping on this particular film.
Momita Sengupta, Netflix’s VP of physical production for original series, recently recalled what it was like to shoot Red Notice and other films in the midst of the pandemic. Netflix was one of the first companies to restart production following quarantine, and it sounds like Momita and his collaborators spent a considerable amount of time mapping out the best way to proceed:
But if the modeling is predicting, 'Hey, you are going to get a lot of people bringing the virus on to set, and that’s going to cause transmission at some point,' what should we do? One of the strategies — and film has used this very successfully — is we go, 'OK, looking at this model, I think we should bubble the cast and crew.' And that’s what led to a full bubble on Red Notice in Atlanta, which has its challenges. And then on two other movies, Hustle and Don’t Look Up, there is more of a hybrid bubble, which is just the cast and some key crewmembers. We’re focusing on the cast because they are the ones that don’t wear the masks and are the most vulnerable. But I know film had a raucous moment when Red Notice wrapped because that was a giant undertaking.
Hearing Momita Sengupta describe the bubble approach to THR is particularly interesting, as the method has become commonplace during these unpredictable times. The NBA was the earliest high-profile organization to use one, and it proved to be effective for finishing out the 2020-2021 season. Now, it would seem that Netflix had similar results when producing films.
After going through so much, one can understand why Sengupta and his colleagues were celebrating when they finally finished up with Red Notice. Kwame Parker, Netflix’s director of production management for original studio film, also spoke to the trade and echoed his colleague’s sentiments:
Yeah, when you complete something like that, it’s a celebration that’s almost more than like the usual wrap we’re used to. It’s special.
Needless to say, Red Notice was a true labor of love, and it’s good to know that production pushed on in a safe manner, allowing the team at Netflix to (safely) enjoy the occasion as well. Despite the challenges, the cast and crew appeared to have enjoyed their time working together. This was especially clear through the playful jabs between Dwayne Johnson and Ryan Reynolds.
Red Notice – a comedy, thriller centered on the world of international crime – has a lot of potential and, hopefully, the film will be more than worth Netflix’s hefty investment when it finally hits our screens.