Tyler Perry is ready for the cast and crew of his hit BET shows to get back to work in July—safely, of course.
He’s the first Hollywood producer “to set start dates for U.S. shows filming in North America,” Deadline reports. Other shows are looking at late summer or early fall to yell “action.”
Production will begin on July 8 and July 28 for the wildly popular Sistas and The Oval, respectively, at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta. The 330-acre lot is one of the largest production facilities in the country with 40 buildings, 12 sound stages and 200 acres of green space.
Both shows are returning for their second seasons, with all 22 episodes shot during a tight two-week period. Deadline said Perry, who directs Sistas and The Oval, has been working with Hollywood unions on new production guidelines in the face of the coronavirus and the new normal.
The mogul and philanthropist realized that his idea might not fly and met with both casts to discuss his comprehensive safety plan. Perry told Deadline that he’d only proceed if everyone was on board with his suggested precautions, which align with local and federal regulations.
His strict guidelines involve “sequestering” the cast and crew in housing on the sprawling studio, transporting the cast via Perry’s private plane and testing multiple times during shooting. Professor Carlos Del Rio of Emory Vaccine Center is also on board as the testing consultant.
After the cast tests negative—pre-flight—in New York and L.A., they’ll fly to Atlanta. And upon arrival, everyone including the crew who live in the area will be tested too. Then, they’ll quarantine for four hours in their rooms until the team is given the all-clear.
The cast, crew and Perry will be tested four times during the 14-day production cycle.
It remains to be seen if other studios will follow Perry’s new production blueprint during the pandemic.