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Ben Affleck film moves production to Vancouver amid COVID-19 concerns

Last Updated Aug 24, 2020 at 6:20 pm PDT

FILE - In this Aug. 10, 2015 file photo, Ben Affleck, left, and Matt Damon attend the "Project Greenlight" premiere of "The Leisure Class" in Los Angeles. (Photo by Paul A. Hebert/Invision/AP, File)

Production for a delayed Ben Affleck film is moving from L.A. to Vancouver

Solstice Studios President, CEO Mark Gill says they were looking for sites to film 'Hypnotic' with better COVID-19 tests

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Production on a new Ben Affleck film is moving from the U.S. to Hollywood North due to COVID-19.

Mark Gill, president and CEO of Solstice Studios, says the film Hypnotic was supposed to start filming in Los Angeles in late April, but was delayed when the pandemic hit.

Then when the production tried to relocate elsewhere in the U.S., Gill says they couldn’t find anything — mainly because of a lack of widespread testing and a timely lab response.

He says part of an agreement with the union representing the film’s cast and crew requires frequent tests for the virus with quick results.

“If that was not possible, we would not subject anyone to the risk, and that’s obviously sensible human behaviour. In the U.S., there’s just no certainty to get be able to get the test or the lab results.”

He adds Vancouver was a natural choice, with its history of film production and proximity to California.

“For those of us who live in Los Angeles, Vancouver is almost a second home for a lot of us, and it was a really easy choice. Let’s go somewhere safe where the testing in hand and there’s a world-class set. That sounds like Vancouver to me,” he says.


And Gill isn’t the only one looking to film outside the U.S.

He says he has heard from other film studios that are looking to move production elsewhere, and he thinks it will stay that way for the foreseeable future.

“It is an ongoing problem. Everyone we’ve talked to has either said they’re pushing back the start of their film or television show, or they’re going overseas,” he tells NEWS 1130.

“I don’t think there’s any question that the U.S. is going to have more challenges this fall.”

Production on Hypnotic is expected to start in October.

At the end of July, California surpassed New York for the most coronavirus cases in a state. California has reported more than 670,000 confirmed cases of the virus.