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Before a midnight-hour intervention from the mayor, Hollywood almost shut down one of LA’s busiest COVID testing sites for a very important production: a gender-flipping remake of a cheesy ’90s rom-com.
For at least nine hours Monday, people with COVID-19 test appointments set for Dec. 1 at the Union Station Kiosk were told they’d have to reschedule due to an “event”—which turned out to be a shoot for the upcoming and very necessary reboot of “She’s All That”, called “He’s All That.” The decision was made by Curative, a company that runs COVID testing sites all over LA.
“We apologize for the inconvenience and delayed notification, but LA Union Station Kiosk site has had to cancel all appointments for December 1st due to an event being held at this location,” an email to LA residents with appointments at the site read, according to Deadline, which broke the story.
The patients were told they could reschedule for any time that worked for them, nevermind the fact that moving a day’s worth of appointments would likely back up the site’s capacity for weeks. Plus, as homeless advocacy group Ktown For All pointed out, the kiosk is one of the city’s few testing sites that’s accessible by public transportation.
FilmLA, which approved the permit to film at the iconic location, said it didn’t know the testing site would be closed if shooting moved forward as scheduled. Miramax, the studio behind the reboot, was also not aware that filming at the location would result in the testing site’s closure, according to Deadline. The publication reported that at least 170 people would be working on-site during the production.
Fortunately, Mayor Eric Garcetti stepped in late Monday night, telling residents that the city would honor the appointments at all of its other sites, before undoing plans to close the Union Station kiosk altogether.
The confusion over the testing site comes at a time when coronavirus cases in Tinseltown are spiking. On Monday, LA clocked over 400,000 COVID-19 cases, with 5,150 new infections, according to the Los Angeles Department of Public Health. New stay-at-home orders, prohibitions on public gatherings, and limited capacity at essential businesses to just 35% went into effect the same day.
With production and moviegoing crippled for months, the U.S. film industry is very anxious to get moving again. Last week, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the third Marvel Spider-Man film would move forward with filming at two Atlanta-area schools next year, despite the locations being closed to actual students. Throughout the year, movies like the upcoming Batman reboot and the horror sequel Scream 5 both had their productions halted due to COVID outbreaks. Films like Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” and Disney’s Mulan remake underperformed in limited theater and home releases thanks to the pandemic.