UPDATE Sept. 4, 2020 at 12 p.m. ET: The Daily Mail is reporting that The Batman will resume its U.K. shoot after production was shut down on Thursday when star Robert Pattinson reportedly tested positive for COVID-19. While Warner Bros. and the actor’s personal representatives have yet to confirm Vanity Fair’s initial reporting that the Twilight star received a positive test, the Daily Mail’s sources indicate that production is proceeding without Pattinson as he self-isolates for the mandated 14-day quarantine. “Anything that can be shot and does not involve Pattinson will now go ahead,” an on-set insider told MailOnline, adding that director Matt Reeves will be using Pattinson’s body double for scenes where Bruce Wayne or his Dark Knight alter ego are present. “Production staff are working round the clock to get things moving and allow some filming to take place.”
The MailOnline story also includes new details about Pattinson’s diagnosis: Earlier in the week, the actor arrived on set with an elevated temperature and was sent home with instructions to be tested for COVID-19. The test came back positive on Thursday, necessitating an immediate production shutdown. In lieu of keeping the sets dark during Pattinson’s two-week quarantine — a choice that would raise the budget on an already costly movie — Reeves and the studio decided to forge ahead without him. “The aim is to get as much done as possible before he returns and the hope is that none of the other actors get the virus,” MailOnline’s source said. “Crew can be replaced as most are freelance and hired for the duration of the shoot but it would be disastrous if another major actor gets the virus.”
Contrary to the MailOnline story, though, Variety reports that shooting remains on pause. According to the trade paper’s sources, members of the U.K. crew are still constructing sets and props, but the production is otherwise focused on an intensive contact tracing effort. Cast and crew members who were in direct contact with Pattinson have reportedly entered quarantine as well, and filming isn’t expected to resume for at least two weeks.
Original story continues below:
Batman has previously fought and defeated the Joker (several of them), Mr. Freeze and Bane on the big screen. But the coronavirus pandemic is proving a more wily foe. Production on The Batman — Matt Reeves’s highly-anticipated reboot of the feature film franchise starring Robert Pattinson as a younger, more inexperienced Dark Knight — has shut down for a second time after the Twilight star reportedly tested positive for the virus.
“A member of The Batman production has tested positive for COVID-19 and is isolating in accordance with established protocols,” a Warner Bros. spokesperson said in a statement provided to Variety. “Filming is temporarily paused.” Vanity Fair subsequently identified Pattinson, who was spotted walking mask-less in London in July, as the crew member in question. Warner Bros. and the actor’s representatives have yet to respond to the outlet’s reporting.
Production on The Batman, which is filming in the United Kingdom, originally shut down in March when the pandemic’s first wave swept across the globe. The halt in shooting forced Warner Bros. to adjust the film’s release date: originally scheduled to hit theaters on June 25, 2021, the movie was pushed back to October 1, 2021. Speaking with Yahoo Entertainment in August, Reeves’s co-writer, Mattson Tomlin, said that safety was upmost in mind as The Batman crew reassembled. “The whole goal is to make it safe,” Tomlin said. “It’s a really scary time out there, so not putting peoples’ lives in jeopardy has to be the first goal, and I know they’re doing that in spades.”
Besides The Batman, the third entry in Universal’s Jurassic World franchise, Jurassic World: Dominion, has also been shooting in the U.K. under intensive restrictions. So far, that Colin Trevorrow-directed film has avoided any delays, although it did scale back a location shoot in Malta following a coronavirus outbreak. Appearing at the DC Fandome virtual fan event on Aug. 24, Reeves confirmed that only 25 percent of The Batman had been filmed prior to the March shutdown before unveiling a teaser trailer that immediately went viral. “Look, we've only shot 25 percent of the movie,” he told viewers. “So there's so much! This is just scratching the surface.”
According to Variety, The Batman had three months of material left to film prior to the March shutdown. Despite the current Pattinson-caused hiatus, the studio still hopes to complete production by the end of 2020. “Matt is on a journey to make a stunningly emotional and very relevant film that has been around longer than any of us, and that involves making some changes to reflect the world around us today,” Tomlin told Yahoo. “Honestly I think it’s going to blow people away.”
The Batman will soar into theaters on October 1, 2021.
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