Flanagan, who previously directed episodes of “The Haunting of Hill House” and “Bly Manors,” as well as popular horror films such as 2019’s “Doctor Sleep” and 2013’s “Oculus,” announced the news in a series of tweets on Wednesday. Flanagan said that work on the project, which included an uninterrupted 83 days of shoots, included strict COVID safety protocols and detailed the various measures cast and crew took to stay safe.
“Our COVID safety protocols were thorough, scientific, and strictly enforced. Our precautions paid off — we did not miss a single day of production, and unlike a lot of other shows, we did not shut down once. Not one time. 83 shooting days, without interruption,” Flanagan said on Twitter. “Which isn’t to say it wasn’t harrowing. Huge crew. Dozens of extras. Over 100 people in some interior scenes. It was the biggest and most ambitious project of my career thus far, and figuring out how to accomplish it safely became an unprecedented challenge.”
Flagan, who directed all seven episodes of the project, noted that COVID tests, masks, and limited interaction became routine for the show’s workers and said the “cast and crew demonstrated remarkable respect, caution, and care for each other on a daily basis, choosing to protect each other with their behavior, both on set and off.”
“It paid off. Other productions began calling for advice,” Flanagan said. “As days turned into weeks and the weeks turned into months and we kept working, we began to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It wasn’t just that we might actually wrap the show… we might actually wrap on schedule. And now, today, we did. On time, on target. The plan we outlined last spring, which seemed almost impossible in its complexity and uncertainty, actually worked.”
Flanagan’s “Midnight Mass” announcement was a rare bit of positive entertainment news during a year that has upended film and television productons across the globe. A handful of high-profile projects, including Matt Reeves’ “The Batman” film and Netflix’s own “The Witcher” series were forced to halt production earlier in the year when cast members contracted the coronavirus.
Set in an isolated island community, “Midnight Mass” follows the “miraculous events and frightening omens” that break out among the population after the arrival of a mysterious priest. Flanagan’s “Hill House” star Kate Siegel is appearing in the series opposite Zach Gilford, Hamish Linklater, Annabeth Gish, Michael Trucco, Samantha Sloyan, and Henry Thomas, among others. Netflix has yet to announce a release date for the series.