Last month, production for Mission: Impossible 7 resumed production in Norway. The seventh installment to the action franchise was one of the many movies that halted due to the coronavirus pandemic, but their return to filming has fared better than some of the other blockbuster films. Both The Batman and Jurassic World: Dominion have had on-set cases with the latter halting production again this week. In a recent interview with Variety, Mission: Impossible’s COVID-19 Supervisor, Sigmund Elias Holm, talked about the movie’s protocols and how they avoided new cases.
“My job was to help provide the production with necessary competence, equipment and crew,” Holm explained. “The shoot lasted for six weeks, which equals the pre-production period before the shoot. The Norwegian COVID-19 crew consisted of more than 10 employees, supporting the British crew of several nurses and medics led by Rachel Westcott from World Extreme Medicine. I am happy to say we didn’t have any COVID-19 cases.”
He added, “Whether you get an infected person or not among the staff is really out of your hands. What you can control is early detection, social distancing and sanitation to avoid the spread, and infection tracing routines to handle potential cases. In addition, the west coast of Norway had a very low infection rate, so the probability of infection was very low. In this regard, 99% [of a zero-case record] is due to a strict regime and planning, and the rest is due to luck.”
“We had an effective infection tracing system, so that if someone had been infected, they and their close contacts would have been isolated and quarantined immediately. Together with social distancing and frequent sanitation, this is the key to safe production,” Holm revealed. “We tested all personnel involved — in total, more than 900 people — on a weekly basis. In addition to crew and cast, these were all others involved, such as drivers, ambulance personnel and security guards. But testing isn’t enough. Everyone also had to keep a distance of two meters, wear masks and wash and sanitize their hands often. We ordered tens of thousands of masks and tons of alcohol sanitizer, in addition to very strict access control.”
“I’d like to emphasize that we hired private health services, so that we didn’t burden the local health resources,” he added. “I think the measures must be adapted to each individual production. You can’t just copy and paste our plan and use it for other productions, it doesn’t work like that. On a general level, it is important to start risk analysis at a very early stage and make sure you have the necessary competence and resources. Infection control is also a lot about delegation. Each department must be trained in infection control. It’s also important to establish non-compliance reporting, evaluating and finding new solutions when unforeseen things happen. Because they do! You always learn along the way.”
You can read the full interview here.
For now, Paramount has dated its pair of untitled Mission: Impossible sequels for November 19, 2021, and November 4, 2022.