Michael Bay Produced Pandemic Thriller Might be First New Movie to Film in US

Though film sets around the world are mostly still on pause for now, filmmaker Michael Bay is producing a new film that hopes to start production in five weeks and also happens to be pandemic themed. Deadline reports that Bay and former Paramount head Adam Goodman's Invisible Narratives production company will produce Songbird, which is a "pandemic thriller" set in and to be shot in Los Angeles. Directed by Adam Mason (Hulu's Into the Dark) who co-wrote the script with Simon Boyes, it's unclear how the movie intends to begin production but the trade notes that the production has "screened their plans by the guilds, and they are good to go."

Described as being "in the spirit of Paranormal Activity and Cloverfield," we can only assume that the film will end up being a found footage project when it's eventually released. According to the trade, the film is set two years from now and the coronavirus pandemic "has not gone away." They write: "Lockdowns have been rolled back and then reinstated and it becomes even more serious as the virus continues to mutate." Unlike the aforementioned inspirations the film will reportedly not have any paranormal elements but will focus on a government conspiracy and widespread paranoia.

To make things even more bizarre, and perhaps lend credence to the though it will be a found-footage movie, Deadline reports that people will never be in the room together while filming. The production will adhere to strict social distancing measures with the scenes shot after the crew has prepared the shot and left the room. In addition, they say there will be no scenes with actors "face to face," noting that they don't intend for this to be like the "all on a computer screen" thriller, Searching.

Casting is currently underway for the film with the trade reporting that "the filmmakers are providing remote training for the actors," perhaps inferring that they'll be using their own camera equipment.

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It's unclear when major film productions in Hollywood will be able to resume but multiple plans are being tossed around town for how they can resume smaller shoots. Just yesterday came the news that Blumhouse Productions is gearing up to shoot a smaller movie on the Universal lot, but the time frame on when that will happen remains to be seen. Other countries have begun to re-open film sets including the UK and New Zealand, but in the United States things remain on lockdown.

It was previously reported that the virtual set technology used on Lucasfilm's The Mandalorian could be a key in getting productions going again with the head of ILM revealing they're in talks with non-Star Wars productions to use their StageCraft technology later this year.

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