Tyler Perry has opened up about how his plan for filming during the coronavirus pandemic. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the multihyphenate talked about some of the close calls he’s had with the coronavirus while filming the upcoming season of Sistas.
“We had a couple of concerns. We had four positives,” he said. “…We had 160 people check in the first day, go to their rooms, get tested and wait for their results. Nobody was able to leave their rooms. We had two positives in that. So we had them escorted out and got the help that they needed.”
“Then 200 people checked in [soon after] and we had two positive inside of the 200,” he continued. “We had them escorted out and got them the help that they needed. So we had four before anybody left their rooms before anybody started work. Those rooms were kept closed and off-limits to anybody until after we finished shooting.”
Perry also said he’s had “two people faint” with one of the people being “nauseous and vomiting.” Those individuals were also quarantined in their rooms, but tested negative. Their illnesses came from heat exhaustion. “[T]hose moments were pretty scary having people in the mask in Georgia heat and having symptoms similar to [COVID]–but they were all negative.”
Perry’s wrapped up Sistas and is now moving onto The Oval, which will start filming its next season Friday. But for those wondering why Perry is even trying to film during the pandemic in Georgia–led by Gov. Brian Kemp, who hasn’t shown proper leadership with regard to curbing the virus–Perry has asserted that he’s working for his crew, who depend on Perry’s studio to support their families.
“Clearly looking at my people, some of whom are former prisoners, some of whom have bought houses and cars and have kids in college,” he said, “[t]hey were so proud walking up to me telling me how they’ve been able to change their lives and how their lives are better from working here. It’s easy for me–I’ve been fortunate enough to be in a position that I could have sat this thing out until there’s a vaccine next year or whenever. But thinking about them and their lives and what it takes for them to maintain their lives, I had to come up with the plan.”
He also told CBS This Morning that he worked with doctors to develop his filming plan to keep his cast and crew safe.
“Realizing that Black and Brown people are the people who are dying the most from COVID, I knew that I had to go far, far beyond,” he said Wednesday. “I called Dr. Carlos del Rio, Emory Hospital, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Dr. Colleen Kraft, I showed them my plan, we all worked very closely on it to make sure that everybody was safe.”
Perry revealed his plan in May, detailing several checkpoints during his filming period at which people would be checked and re-checked for the virus as well making it mandatory to wear protective masks. The plan also requires cast and crew to live on Perry’s studio lot, which has now been dubbed “Camp Quarantine” by those on-site. Perry told Variety in May he was “excited about setting a template here that I think could work everywhere.”
Photo: CBS This Morning