“The Chosen” Series Gathers 2,000 Extras to Film Sermon on the Mount Reenactment Amid Coronavirus Restrictions

Courtesy of The Chosen

Amid the pandemic, most film and television productions have avoided gathering large numbers of extras for scenes, as shooting them safely is likely to be a logistical nightmare and an exceedingly high-risk endeavor.

But crowdfunded TV series The Chosen, a religious drama that follows the life of Jesus, plans to gather more than 2,000 extras on Wednesday to film a reenactment of the Sermon on the Mount. The extras, many of whom are flying to the show’s production facility in Midlothian, Texas, from across the globe, are fans of the show who’ve donated money to the series to appear in it.

The drama’s creator and showrunner Dallas Jenkins, who previously directed the comedy The Resurrection of Gavin Stone for Blumhouse and Walden Media, initially planned to shoot the scene before the novel coronavirus began to spread. “But then when the pandemic hit, we thought, ‘Is it possible for us to do this and do it safely by following all the COVID guidelines?’” says Jenkins, the son of Left Behind author Jerry B. Jenkins. “We thought, ‘You know, maybe if we literally test everybody we can make this work.’”

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In order to participate, the production is requiring each extra to get a PCR test before they travel to the North Texas set and then provide a copy of their negative test result as proof that they don’t have COVID-19. Once they make it to set, they’ll then get a rapid antigen test done the morning of the shoot and will remain in their cars until they’re confirmed to be virus-free. Jenkins says he’ll send anyone who tests positive packing.

“That’s the sad reality,” he said, noting that he has encouraged the fans to be extra cautious from the time they get their first test to when they arrive on set. “We told everyone to please, please, please, for your sake, be as careful as humanly possible because if you test positive, not only are you not able to be allowed in, but no one in your car will be allowed in. But we’re sure it’s going to happen to a few people.”

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SOURCE: The Hollywood Reporter, Bryn Sandberg

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