A new pandemic-set film is released by HBO Max this week.
Locked Down, starring Anne Hathaway (Linda) and Chiwetel Ejiofor (Paxton), follows a couple who decide to break up just days before a UK lockdown prevents them from doing so. The plot shines a light onto the strained relationship between the pair, before they decide to take part in a heist together.
Written by Stephen Knight (Peaky Blinders) and directed by Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity), the film also features stars such as Mindy Kaling, Stephen Merchant, Ben Stiller and Ben Kingsley, who appear via video call. This made it easier to produce while still complying with Covid-19 regulations across the world.
“Linda has been carrying around so much tension for so long,” Hathaway said about her character in an interview with People. “This film is partially about how the chaos of lockdown allows her to release that tension, let go of whatever BS was getting her through the day and how she gets all the way honest about what authenticity and freedom mean to her. She is messy and a little nuts and I liked that.”
“This movie is not only about this moment in time; it’s a product of this moment in time,” said director Doug Liman. “I’m sure Steven Spielberg will get an Oscar in three years for the movie he makes about the pandemic, but this film holds a mirror to what we’ve gone through.”
Locked Down was shot in the UK from September to October 2020 under strict Coronavirus regulations. Hathaway told People about the experience: “It was scary taking my mask off every day, and so I really appreciated how committed the crew was to keeping their masks on — even when we were shooting in hot rooms and they were carrying heavy camera and lighting equipment they were always, always masked. Their professionalism helped keep me safe, and I was and am incredibly grateful to them.”
This is also the first film to ever be shot in Harrods, which would not have been possible without Covid-19 causing the store to shut down.
Locked Down will stream exclusively on HBO Max from 14 January, which means that UK viewers will not be able to watch it anytime soon. However, HBO plans to eventually bring the streaming platform to 190 countries, starting with Europe and Latin America later this year. “It’s just a matter of how fast we can do that,” said Andy Forssell, head of HBO Max Global.
Words by Emily Withers
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