Robert Pattinson’s positive test on ‘Batman’ set underscores challenges for Hollywood

September 4, 2020 - 3:06 PM
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2019 Governors Awards - Arrivals - Los Angeles, California, U.S., October 27, 2019 - Robert Pattinson. (Reuters/Mario Anzuoni/File Photo)

LOS ANGELES — British actor Robert Pattinson has tested positive for COVID-19, news media reported on Thursday, halting production of “The Batman” and highlighting the industry’s struggles to get back to business after months of a pandemic-induced shutdown.

Movie studio Warner Bros. said in a statement that “a member of ‘The Batman’ production” in Britain had tested positive for the coronavirus, but did not give a name. “Filming is temporarily paused,” the studio’s statement added, but did not say for how long.

Variety, the Hollywood Reporter and Vanity Fair all cited sources as saying the person who tested positive was Pattinson, the film’s star.

Warner Bros. and Pattinson‘s representatives did not return calls seeking comment. It was not clear to what extent Pattinson, 34, best known for his breakout role in the vampire movie series “Twilight,” was suffering COVID-19 symptoms.

Filming of “The Batman” had resumed north of London only three days ago after being shut down in mid-March, along with dozens of other movies and TV shows around the world due to the coronavirus.

The movie, in which Pattinson stars as the comic book hero, has about three months of material left to shoot, according to Hollywood trade outlets. Its release was pushed back earlier this year from June 2021 to October 2021.

Movie and TV production has been slow to get going again in the United States under complex safety procedures that include testing, quarantine and social distancing on sets that employ dozens of crew members, makeup artists, actors, extras and other production staff.

Some productions, including Universal Pictures’ O> “Jurassic World: Dominion,” have restarted in London or in Eastern Europe, while the cast of the “Avatar” sequel is back at work in New Zealand, where the coronavirus has been kept in check.

Tom Cruise in July got permission to shoot parts of the next “Mission Impossible” thriller in Norway without having to follow quarantine requirements. However, Variety reported that the production has hired two cruise ships to house the crew to keep them apart from locals. —Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Sandra Maler and Jonathan Oatis