New York is officially back in the TV production business. Cameras have started rolling ABC’s drama series For Life, starring Nicholas Pinnock, and HBO Max’s limited series The Flight Attendant, headlined and exec produced by Kaley Cuoco.
For Life, from Sony Pictures Television, is believed to be the first series to return to production in New York; it started shooting its second season Aug. 26. Executive producer Curts “50 Cent’ Jackson, posted an image of star Pinnock wearing a mask on the set Saturday. (You can see it below.)
The Flight Attendant, from Warner Bros. TV, resumed filming today. Star/executive producer Cuoco shared the news on Instagram next to images of her and her co-star Michiel Huisman, both wearing masks. (You can check them out below the post.)
New York allowed for film and TV production tp get going again last month when the city entered Phase 4 on reopening. At the time, Anne del Castillo, commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, called August production restarts in the city “a safe bet.”
For Life is ahead of the game with its August Season 2 start of production, becoming one of the first ABC scripted series to begin filming its new season. The drama, from creator/exec producer Hank Steinberg and exec producer Jackson, spent the spring on the bubble before earning a Season 2 renewal in June for a midseason 2021 debut. With its timeliness in the era of Black Lives Matter and a growing social justice movement, the series could potentially be considered for fall, especially with the majority of ABC’s fall scripted shows yet to start production.
Sony TV has been at the forefront of the production restart, with a number of its broadcast series already filming, including S.W.A.T. for CBS, which started shooting in Los Angeles Aug. 4; ABC’s The Goldbergs, which began filming Aug. 24, also in Los Angeles; and For Life, which followed on Aug. 26. Sony TV’s dramas The Good Doctor and The Blacklist also are close to starting production. (The studio’s Apple series For All Mankind has been shooting too.)
Inspired by the life of Isaac Wright Jr., who was wrongfully convicted but got his conviction overturned while in prison and became a licensed attorney, For Life follows Aaron Wallace (Nicholas Pinnock) as he represents himself and his fellow inmates in court, while also exposing injustices and racial profiling in the American legal system as well as the flaws in the prison system. As Steinberg revealed in a Q&A with Deadline last month, Season 2 will reflect BLM and the protests following the death of George Floyd. It also will see Wallace leaving prison and trying to re-assimilate into his old live.
Pinnock, Indira Varma, Joy Bryant, Dorian Missick and Tyla Harris star along with Mary Stuart Masterson, Boris McGiver and Timothy Busfield. Steinberg, Tillman, Jackson and his G-Unit Film & Television production company and Wright Jr. executive produce alongside Robinson and Greenspan via Doug Robinson Productions.
The Flight Attendant HBO Max limited series, starring and executive produced by Cuoco, was just a couple of days into shooting Episode 6 of its eight-episode order when in early March it shut down production due to the fast-spreading coronavirus.
“We are looking to get back up and running at the end of August,” The Flight Attendant executive producer/co-showrunner Steve Yockey said in early August during the show’s panel at CTAM’s virtual press tour. “We are all feeling very positive about it but of course the health and safety of our cast and crew are the top priority. But assuming everything goes to plan, you will be seeing The Flight Attendant on HBO Max this fall.”
The series had wrapped all planned international filming before the March shutdown so the remaining production is all New York-based.
The Flight Attendant is a story of how an entire life can change in one night. Cassie (Cuoco) is a flight attendant who wakes up in the wrong hotel, in the wrong bed, with a dead man – and no idea what happened. Rosie Perez, Michiel Huisman, Zosia Mamet, Colin Woodell, Merle Dandridge and Griffin Matthews also star.
The dark comedic thriller, exec produced by Cuoco, Yockey, Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter, Meredith Lavender and Marcie Ulin, is based on the novel by Chris Bohjalian.
Warner Bros. TV’s Supernatural is filming its final two episodes in Vancouver, with several other studio series zeroing in on a production restart.