Remember at the start of quarantine when everyone was streaming Contagion for the too-real feels? Well the smarties in Hollywood are obviously looking to capitalize on that impulse, because Michael Bay has produced a COVID-19 thriller called Songbird, envisioning a world where the virus has mutated and still plagues humanity four years into the future. Coooool, we really hate to imagine it. But we also hate to admit that the movie looks kind of good — if also maybe too-soon.
Honestly, one of the most surprising things about the impending coronavirus movie is that Bay managed to recruit an A-list cast, including K.J. Apa, Demi Moore, and Bradley Whitford, and shoot the whole thing in the midst of an actively unfolding global pandemic. Like, the guy is known for his big-budget action thrillers, but just think about how much this sucker must’ve cost to produce. It’s been well-documented how expensive COVID-19 prevention measures on set can be; just look at Tyler Perry’s massive “Camp Quarantine” operation down in Georgia.
At least it sounds like they kept the crew pretty small. Director Adam Mason told Entertainment Weekly he normally does “the lighting and the camera work myself. So, I’m used to being very close to the actors and filming in this very intimate way that was perfectly suited to filming during the rules and regulations of the lockdown.”
Songbird is set in 2024, depicting a pandemic-stricken world where 8.4 million deaths in a year is the new normal. Apa and 27-year-old actress Sofia Carson play a couple separated by the virus and living under martial law. If you catch COVID, the government shows up at your house and carts you off to a slumlike “quarantine camp.” That’s pretty much the threat that looms when one of Carson’s character’s neighbors contracts the virus and forces her to evacuate.
“It’s a dystopian, scary world, but it’s a romantic movie about two people who want to be together, but they can’t,” Mason added. “It’s ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ but they’re separated by her front door and by the virus.”
After the trailer dropped on Thursday, people got justifiably annoyed that Hollywood is capitalizing on a real-life tragedy while we’re still in the middle of it. “Can someone check up on Michael Bay? They say a lack of taste is a [symptom] of covid,” was one typical response on Twitter. Guess we’ll see what other content is out there once this thing eventually drops someday — Songbird hasn’t announced a premiere date yet.