Even as more and more adults are vaccinated, Hollywood wants to ensure that these last two years of the movie business never happen again. So industry officials are making COVID protocols even stricter on set.
Most studios are mandating that people in Zone A (primary cast, director, writer, cinematographer) are all vaccinated. Some are given religious exemptions, but that's few and far between.
The goal here is to make movies without interruptions, to have something to put into theaters besides backdated titles. The whole industry needs a big bounceback, and they're hoping this next wave of films in 2022 and 2023 can deliver. Especially with streaming having gained so much ground over the course of the pandemic.
Many places are only considering cast members who are vaccinated, and smart agents are pounding the pavement for their vaccinated clients, trying to push them to the head of the line.
We heard stories of Ice Cube, who walked away from a $9 million payday because he wanted to avoid being vaccinated. And that story won't be an outlier—this is happening all over now. No one wants to risk more money to make a movie, and they want people on screen who have the least chance of derailing production by catching and spreading COVID.
This has caused some drama, with actors refusing to be vaxxed getting into standoffs with studios, but by and large, most are excited to get back to work.
Still, it's hard to predict how long this will go on. If COVID stays with us forever, it's a wonder if they'll lift these mandates, or leave them in place for actors in the future. Time will tell.
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