Paul Schrader wouldn’t want to make a completely new film with the “onerous” safety protocols that have been implemented as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The First Reformed director, who is best known for writing Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull and Taxi Driver, was five days away from completing production on The Card Counter, starring Oscar Isaac, Tiffany Haddish, and Willem Dafoe, when an extra in a large crowd scene tested positive for Covid-19 and the set was shut down.
Schrader revealed on Thursday during a virtual discussion between himself, Isaac and a journalist for Deadline that they were cleared to resume filming in Mississippi on 6 July and he is glad he only has to complete five more days under the new safety guidelines.
“We’ve all read the protocols. They are onerous, to say the least,” he stated. “I would not want to start a film from scratch under those conditions, but five days, knowing exactly what you need, exactly what you want, you can work your way through that, or rather limp your way through it, which is what we’ll do. It’ll end up seeming like a kind of adventure, whereas for another production starting from scratch, it would seem like a nightmare.”
Schrader noted that they had already completed scenes involving large crowds and intimacy and he hasn’t had to rewrite any scenes to adjust to the new working conditions, although he made some tweaks to the remaining dialogue scenes after assembling a “90 per cent cut” of the film.
Isaac, who will go on to film the Dune reshoots in August, admitted it’s “really hard to imagine” what filming will be like under the new protocols.
The filmmaker made headlines in March when he expressed his outrage at being forced to stop filming in a Facebook post.
“Production halted five days before wrap by my pussified producers because an LA day player had the coronavirus,” he wrote. “Myself, I would have shot through hellfire rain to complete the film. I’m old and asthmatic, what better way to die than on the job?”
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