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Tyler Perry prepares to reopen studios, begin production

Tyler Perry speaks at 7th annual produced by Conference at Paramount Studios (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Tyler Perry has earnestly and publicly implored Atlantans and all Americans to take the COVID-19 crisis seriously and shelter in place to protect themselves and others. But after halting television and film production at Tyler Perry Studios in March, the media mogul is planning to make his Atlanta-based mega studio one of the first domestic filming grounds to reopen during the coronavirus pandemic.

After Gov. Brian Kemp declared that nonessential businesses in the state could reopen in late April, Perry emerged with a strategic plan to reopen his massive 330-acre studio, which has become a production powerhouse in Atlanta, the Hollywood of the South.

Perry believes he’s ready to move forward at Tyler Perry Studios to produce his own content such as the BET series “Sistas” and “The Oval.” The Hollywood Reporter obtained a a 30-page production protocol document to cast, detailing health measures from testing in their hometown, traveling on a Perry-arranged private jet and doing another rapid test.

Many in the industry want to see how Perry’s protocol will unfold. The Screen Actors Guild said in a statement that it’s uncertain when production will return.

“You’re going to have some discomfort at first that’s eventually broken by those who just want to kind of get back to the way things were,” said Kevin Hart, who filmed several projects in Atlanta including Night School and Jumanji. The actor-comedian said he would be willing to fly from his home in Los Angeles to Georgia to film if it’s a “plan that we vetted out.”

Along with Perry’s studio, other studios in Georgia have implemented their own health and safety plans, but are waiting to see if they coincide with the rest of the industry.

Pinewood is focusing on security, limiting the number of guest on sets and using a device to purify the air to try to stop the virus’s spread. Another production company, Swirl Films, has recently installed LED screens and walls on their stages to create any kind of indoor or outdoor scene.

When the moment is right, studios owners say they will be ready.

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