|THE WITCHERTHE WITCHAUDIENCES|
Netflix will conduct a deep cleaning of “The Witcher” set after one of the fantasy series' actors tested positive for the coronavirus.
Kristofer Hivju, a “Game of Thrones” veteran who will appear in “The Witcher” Season 2, revealed that he had tested positive for the coronavirus in an Instagram post Monday. Around the same time, Netflix sent an email to the show's production team noting that an “individual” had contracted the virus. Though the company did not specify the individual, Deadline reported that it was Hivju.
Netflix told Deadline that it would immediately be closing production offices as well as Arborfield Studios, where the series is shot, and “arranging for deep cleaning and disinfection” of both. Netflix representative also stated the company was recommending “The Witcher” cast and crew self-quarantine for two weeks.
Netflix representatives did not return a request for comment. The company halted production on the series two weeks ago due to concerns about the coronavirus.
Despite testing positive for the virus, Hivju maintained a positive outlook on Instagram and told his 3.7 million followers that he only had mild symptoms. The actor, who portrayed Tormund Giantsbane in “Game of Thrones,” also urged others to practice social distancing and do what they can to stay healthy.
“My familiy and I are self-isolating at home for as long as it takes,” Hivju wrote on Instagram. “We are in good health — I only have mild symptoms of a cold. There are people at higher risk for who this virus might be a devastating diagnosis, so I urge all of you to be extremely careful.”
Hivju will portray Nivellen in “The Witcher” Season 2, a man who is cursed to take on a monstrous appearance in the franchise's lore.
“The Witcher” Season 1 hit Netflix last December and received an enthusiastic review from IndieWire's Ben Travers, who praised its performances and frequently ludicrous — albeit entertaining — premises. The series was also an apparent ratings hit and sparked renewed interest in the fantasy franchise, which is based on the books by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski.
“The Witcher” is one of an increasingly large number of film or TV productions that has been impacted by the coronavirus. Netflix stopped production on all scripted TV series in films in the U.S. and Canada due to the virus, and other companies ranging from Disney to Apple have similarly halted production on many of their upcoming projects.
IndieWire is keeping track of all the entertainment industry-related events and productions that have been disrupted by the coronavirus.
Week three of no theatrical releases. That will technically change soon — Universal’s premium VOD-opening “Trolls World Tour” has a handful of still-open drive-ins to play don’t expect any grosses reported. But it was a week full of important stories, with particular interest in a series of release date adjustments. However, no date can be realized if theaters aren’t open, and nobody knows when that will be.
• Exhibitor trade organization NATO held a webinar Friday. President John Fifthian raised hope that some theaters might be open by late May or early June. AMC Entertainment CEO Adam Aron, who oversees the most screens in North America reiterated his hopes for mid-June.
• With the COVID-19 still in its early stages of national spread, uncertainty about the curve flattening, and signs that in China, which had the earliest outbreaks three months ago, that viral decline doesn’t equal viral defeat, the reality is it could be weeks before anyone can make a reasonable assessment on reopening.
• Countering industry optimism that after weeks indoors, people will flock to theaters is a survey by Performance Research about public attitudes on return to public events. It saw 49 percent of respondents saying feeling safe about returning to theaters ranged from in a few months to never, with 28 percent saying if they do return, it will be less often. That said: This is a snapshot taken nearly two weeks ago, and shouldn’t be considered predictive. It showed similar or worse results for sporting events, concerts, and theme parks.
• Sports league executives spoke with President Trump, who urged resumption as soon as possible. However, Dr. Alan Sills, chief medical officer for the NFL, cautioned it is premature to believe that football can return this fall. Governors in some states that aren’t fully shut down, like Nebraska, encouraged voluntary compliance — with the threat that if the virus isn’t contained, their ardent fans might not have a season. Sports, of course, demand close player and spectator contact, and are more vulnerable even than theaters to the ongoing threat of contagion. But the idea that it is conceivable the country could have a year with no more sports is even more shocking than disruption to theaters.
• The key takeaway from multiple studio release schedule changes is, in re-dating titles, they don’t expect theaters to be fully operational until July at the earliest. Though key June and July titles like Pixar’s “Soul” and Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” remain in those months, “Mulan” on July 24 is the earliest rescheduled date for any major title. Other date changes act as a diversion while theaters are closed, but the reality is everything is written in pencil, not pen.