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All American created a bubble to shoot all football scenes together amid the pandemic

  • The CW series faced the unique challenge of shooting a show with lots of close contact without being able to incorporate coronavirus into Season 3 since it's based on the life of retired NFL player Spencer Paysinger. “The biggest thing is we are a young adult show that loves to throw parties — homecoming, everybody’s birthday — and now it’s just like, ‘Uh uh, what three people are getting together to have coffee and a chat?'” showrunner Nkechi Okoro Carroll tells Variety. “We started writing the season end of February — I rolled directly from Season 2 into Season 3 — so by the time the pandemic hit and it was like it was here to hang out for a while, we went back and did our COVID pass on (scripts) and flagged scenes with too many extras in it.” She says that it was easy to convert scenes with lots of people into something smaller. But All American couldn't avoid football scenes since they are a key part of the show. So All American, which films in Los Angeles, gathered the 50 actors and crew portraying players, coaches and working as specialists in a hotel in quarantine for two weeks and had them shoot all the football scenes in one block. The actors playing players also wore flesh-colored masks under their helmets that could be later digitally erased. “Football’s full contact; socially distanced football works for drills at practice but not for games and it’s their senior year so it just felt crazy (not to have football) if we weren’t addressing COVID on the show,” Okoro Carroll says. So “effectively what we created was a football bubble, modeled after what the NBA did.”

    TOPICS: All American, The CW, Daniel Ezra, Nkechi Okoro Carroll, Coronavirus