And big studios who have campuses in LA can very much control those campuses once they put protocols in. Productions are going to have to go on a lot longer and it’s going to be a lot slower. It’s going to go back to how it was before it got crazy and people wanted to give you no time and no money! Now they’re just going to have to go back and spend the time and spend the money. It’s going to be much more affecting to lower budget films. I don’t foresee something like Moonlight being able to be made in this environment or anything like Fruitvale Station.
Other countries are gonna come back. There’s a production now that people are looking at as a template in Australia. It’s going to take a lot longer here but Disney has a campus, Warner has a campus, Universal has a campus. Pinewood and Screen Gems in Atlanta. Those are very controlled areas. We shot on Black Panther at Screen Gems which is a lovely little studio campus and there’s one entrance. There are ten stages with offices and it was enough to house everyone for Black Panther. You’re all in one area, you quarantine your crew before they start, everybody gets checked as they come in, you wear your masks, you build everything on stage. It’s costly but it’s something that a bigger film can do. For Black Panther, we built everything on all the stages at Screen Gems plus the additional stages at OFS and all their backlots.
Mostly everything was built but we were also on location in Korea and South Africa and I don’t foresee that happening again! I don’t see other countries letting Americans in anytime soon because we’re off the charts with our virus.
So right now I’m doing an exhibit for the Metropolitan Museum of Art that will be up May 2021. I’m super excited. And I’m directing a docu-narrative with Jenn Nkiru for Netflix on the history of women in hiphop from the eighties to the present. It’s deconstructive and non-linear so it’s not your average documentary. Then after that there’s Black Panther 2. We don’t start shooting it until next year and would start prepping this late summer. It’s Marvel and they can control their world if necessary.
AS: Getting an actor onto a plane is going to be tough…
HB: It’s not going to happen. Or you put them on a private jet. They can control that. That’s the difference between indie films and someone like Disney or Warner. It’s more cost-effective to do something like that, than take the risk of flying them commercial. You drive right up to the jet, you don’t have to go through any type of security, and then you get picked up on the tarmac outside the plane and go into quarantine.
AS: Going from smaller films to Black Panther did it feel like the same kind of job or is the process totally different?
HB: It is and it isn’t. The biggest challenge was that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. I approached it with a lot of naiveté regarding how much it was really gonna take out of me.
AS: How long were you on it for?
HB: I was on it for thirteen months! And then I spent a month in South Africa and a week in South Korea. That’s something that I never got to do with the indie films. It was awesome.