The Bold and the Beautiful's showrunner Brad Bell is hitting the ground running when the show resumes filming this week. B&B is believed to be the only broadcast and scripted series filmed in America that has returned to production during the coronavirus pandemic. On the heels of the okay from Los Angeles County for film, music, and television to start up again, B&B announced they were returning after having been shut down since mid-March. Just how did the world's most watched soap get themselves prepared to get back to business? Bell spoke with The Hollywood Reporter to break it all down.
What kinds of modifications have you made?
We've been working with a group called Reel Health, and they provide great COVID response services. We've been looking to them to guide us through a safe path back to production. We've been doing testing — everyone has been tested. Actors will be tested at least once a week, maybe multiple times a week. All production personnel will be tested on Mondays, and we'll be filming Tuesday through Friday.
In terms of the booth and control room, we have plexiglass between the director, the AD, the [technical director]. We've spread out all of our production people so they're at least six feet apart and divided by plexiglass. We've moved the lighting department to an auxiliary area where they have more space. We're limiting the number of people on set at any one time, and keeping the actors eight feet apart at all times — which will be tricky, especially during love scenes [laughs].
What about production time? Bell explains,
It will increase post-production. We're also bringing in, in some cases, the husbands and wives of the actors as stand-ins for their [characters'] significant others. So if you see hands touching faces in close proximity from a wide shot, instead of a stunt double we'll have a love-scene double, where it will be the husband or the wife doing the actual touching.Then when we edit it together, it will look like our couple on screen.
And we'll probably also be using some of the classic, old-fashioned tricks of soap opera, where when things heat up, we pan to the fireplace or pan to a candle to indicate things are getting hot [laughs]. All in all, I think a lot of it will be done with the eyes and the voice, and there can still be love in the air and romance on the screen from a safe distance.
When should viewers expect new episodes to be broadcast? Bell discloses when fans can see their favorites back onscreen.
How soon are you looking to be back on air?
We'll start filming tomorrow. We have our first scene scheduled for tomorrow, and then back at it Thursday and Friday and into next week. We've eaten up our pad — usually at this time we have a month or a month and a half between tape and air. That's disappeared now, so I think after a week or so of filming we're going to turn it around and be on the air within a few weeks. It'll be quick.