Production on the Spanish set of Penelope Cruz and Antonio Banderas’s new movie has been halted to protect cast and crew members from the threat of the coronavirus.
The actors were in the middle of shooting Official Competition in Madrid, where authorities began to shut down schools on Monday (March 9, 2020) to limit the spread of the COVID-19 disease.
On Thursday (March 12, 2020), bosses at The Mediapro Studio revealed production on the film was being temporarily suspended as a precautionary measure.
In a statement issued to Variety, officials explained the decision was a “security measure and act of responsibility towards shoots’ crews, given the concerns of their members, and to allow them to meet their own family needs after the closure of colleges in Madrid”.
“It is hoped that production will be renewed as soon as it is possible to guarantee the safety of crew members,” they added.
Filming on Official Competition had been due to run until mid-April (2020).
The movie, from Argentine filmmaking duo Mariano Cohn and Gaston Duprat, will feature Banderas and Oscar Martinez as actors whose vastly different performance methods lead them to clash as they prepare to shoot a film financed by an overbearing millionaire and shot by an eccentric director, played by Cruz.
Official Competition is the latest big project to be affected by coronavirus concerns – pre-production on Tom Hanks’ upcoming Elvis Presley movie has stalled after the actor and his wife, Rita Wilson, were diagnosed with the illness, while filming on TV hit Riverdale in Vancouver, Canada shut down after it was discovered a crew member had come into contact with someone who had tested positive for COVID-19.