Earlier this week, work on The Batman was once again put on pause after Warner Bros. said a member of the production had tested positive for COVID-19. And in a subsequent report from Vanity Fair citing a "highly placed source," it was later said the production member in question was star Robert Pattinson.
In a new interview conducted mere hours after that news started making the rounds, Ann Sarnoff—who was named CEO and chairperson of Warner Bros. in August 2019—addressed the shutdown while declining to name Pattinson as the production member who tested positive. She also conceded that the studio had approached the resuming of production on the Matt Reeves-directed film, which has already been paused before due to pandemic concerns, with a certain acceptance of the realities of the current moment.
"I think we never expected things to go completely smoothly," Sarnoff told the Hollywood Reporter. "In fact, as we've been getting our protocols ready, we built in contingencies. If someone tests positive, you do contact tracing, you pause, you evaluate, and come back when you can. I think it would have been naive to think we wouldn't have certain cases on certain productions. The most important thing is to be ready for when that happens. And we were very much ready."
Asked to speak further on when production might return to some sense of normalcy, Sarnoff said that is unlikely until "a medical solution" has been presented. For now, she said, the team is moving forward "as if there won't be" while resuming production with safety as a priority.
Elsewhere, Sarnoff spoke on the mid-pandemic theatrical rollout strategy for Tenet, noting that the assessment by some that Christopher Nolan is in total control is "overstated." In Sarnoff's opinion, certain films simply "deserve to be on the big screen."
Also in that category, she said, is Wonder Woman 1984. It's due later this year, though Sarnoff explained that a strategy for all future productions is still being worked out.
As it stands now, The Batman—also starring Zoë Kravitz, Colin Farrell, Paul Dano, and Jeffrey Wright—is still due for release in late 2021.