According to a report from Deadline, Sean Penn has had it with people who haven’t gotten a COVID-19 vaccine yet—at least when it comes to people who directly interact with him or work on things he’s associated with. A few days ago, he declared that he refuses to return to production on the Starz limited series Gaslit until everyone working on it has been vaccinated, which he’s happy to facilitate (for free) through his charitable relief organization CORE.
NBCUuniversal, the studio behind Gaslit, is apparently on board with this demand and has already instituted mandatory vaccinations for everyone in the cast and who directly deals with the cast, but Penn doesn’t like the idea of people who are vaccinated still working with people who potentially are not vaccinated (since even vaccinated people could still possibly transmit the virus to someone else). As Deadline notes, this is one of the first times anyone on the level of a Sean Penn has made a demand like this, and making it happen would most likely require some agreements between the various unions and studios involved (because otherwise Universal wouldn’t legally be allowed to force everyone to get a vaccine), which would then presumably set a precedent for other productions to impose similar rules.
Penn insisting on this now, when he reportedly only has a few weeks left before he’s done with filming for the show, is going to cause some delays for Gaslit—unless getting everyone to agree to it is inexplicably easier than you would think. The show, which comes from Sam Esmail and Robbie Pickering and is inspired by Slate’s Slow Burn podcast, is about the Watergate scandal and is going to star Penn as Richard Nixon’s Attorney General John Mitchell. Julia Roberts is also starring in the show as Mitchell’s wife.