British filmmaker Adam Mason is hard at work on a new pandemic thriller — Songbird, produced by Michael Bay — with shooting already underway in LA, adhering to safety guidelines.
Mason told Screen that the script for Songbird was “built from the ground up” by him, along with writing partner Simon Boyes, with the current climate and its associated rules in mind. He says it’s “a love story between two people who can’t be together” clarifying though that it’s very much “in the Michael Bay mould”.
The movie is a love story set two years in the future during a pandemic, starring Demi Moore, Peter Stormare, Craig Robinson, Paul Walter Hauser, Bradley Whitford and Jenna Ortega.
“The themes of the script are about isolation and separation and loneliness,” said Mason.
“One thing that came very quickly apparent to me was that more than ever we were using our cell phones and devices to communicate through the barriers of the lockdown, so that very much fed into the narrative.”
Songbird is due to shoot for a month in various LA locations and got the green light to go ahead after a brief dispute with the acting union SAG-AFTRA was resolved.
Mason said he will work in full PPE, including a face shield and N-95 mask, with locations chosen for their openness.
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He added: “Everything [on set] is based around different zones. We’re getting tested three times a week for COVID-19, maintaining social distancing, all sets are deep-cleaned, sterilised in advance, and catering has changed – each meal is individually packed.”
The director said there is already a “real spirit of camaraderie” on the set as a result of a genuine desire from all involved to get back to work.
“Having limitations is such a challenge but also rewarding,” said Mason. “That’s what creativity is about.”
He added: “Everyone’s embraced it, we have the most amazing cast and crew on board and with safety in mind, we’re trying to take things forward and reinvent the wheel for this short period of history while we have to operate this way.”
There is no word yet on when Songbird will be released, but multiple deals were made at the Cannes virtual market last month.
Former Paramount president Adam Goodman is stumping up cash through his company Invisible Narratives, with Bay on board alongside Goodman as a producer.