The strict Covid-safety protocols on Martin Scorsese’s Killers Of The Flower Moon have been revealed and includes a dedicated team of around 100 nurses and crew.
The shoot, which is taking place over several months in Oklahoma with stars including Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro, is taking place during the pandemic and the Apple Original Films production has employed rigorous measures to protect its cast and crew.
According to location manager Mike Fantasia, the production has employed “a Covid team of 75 to 100 people” and Apple’s protocols are “as strict or stricter than the recommendations”.
Talking at Screen and Broadcast’s Restart conference on Tuesday (May 18), Fantasia said: “There are some days when we are in 13 different locations… in addition to our construction shop, set [decoration] shop and our office… We’ve got nurses in testing facilities in three or four places. Every day we get a spreadsheet of who is testing tomorrow and where there need to go, and it’s 10 pages long.” Watch the session in full above.
Fantasia, whose recent credits include Top Gun: Maverick and Spider-Man Homecoming, added: “We are waiting for the restrictions to ease but I don’t think it’s going to change on the project I’m on. We have a director who’s in his 70s, an actor in his 70s, a couple of above-the-liners who are in their mid-70s. The whole thing is ‘Let’s not get the director sick, let’s not get the designer sick’.”
Budgeted at close to $200m and set in the 1920s, when the newly-formed FBI tried to solve a series of murders of members of the Osage Nation, Fantasia also commented on the scope of the feature.
“The biggest thing for me is the space I need when we have 500 extras - dealing with spacing, Covid protocols and catering… I can’t imagine trying to do this in New York City,” said the location manager, who confirmed the production had gone 10 weeks without a case of Covid.
Covid crew challenges
Others on the panel, titled Opening the International Production Floodgates, also reflected on the challenges of Covid-safety protocols in regards to resources as well as a shortfall of available crew.
Georgette Turner, a location manager on Wonder Woman who was more recently Covid production manager at the 93rd Academy Awards, said: “These [Covid] departments are huge and have taken a lot of resources. There’s been a whole drain on the rest of our facilities… I’m now getting approached a lot for international shows abroad, much more than when I was doing location work. That’s because now almost have veterans working in Covid as the US and UK have been doing it for so long.
“There really does need to be a lot more training internationally about what these Covid policies are and have a bit more of a unified approach to these policies.”
Sam Breckman, a line producer and unit production manager whose credits include Game Of Thrones, also spoke to the strain on departments and a lack of experienced crew.
“At the moment in Britain, it’s bonkers,” said Breckman. “Trying to get crew is next to impossible, because most people are signed six to eight months in advance of productions.”
Fantasia added: “I’m trying to find an office co-ordinator and I can’t find one, it seems everybody is totally maxed out, so when the floodgates open who the heck is going to staff. We have a lot of folks that would never be in the positions they are in five years ago. They just don’t have the experience, so I just worry about the future because there just aren’t people out there.”
The session was sponsored by Palma Pictures and Take1.