It was only a matter of time before some Hollywood fat cat had a crack at pivoting the current global pandemic into a feature length film, and while word on the street for some time has been that said fat cat was none other than Michael Bay, today the project has been brought to life with the first trailer of the pandemic-inspired thriller, Songbird, landing with an almighty thud.
Taking heed from the current COVID lockdowns and the madness that followed, Songbird, produced by Bay, dials the entire situation to about 1 million, bringing us into a not-too-distant dystopic future ravaged by a newly mutated strain of coronavirus, COVID-23. Far more invasive than COVID-19, COVID-23 has claimed 8.4 million deaths in the space of a year, and within this context the story unfolds.
Part Romeo + Juliet and part 28 Days Later with a hefty splash of 1984, Songbird follows two lovers, one of whom is believed to be immune from the virus, and is on a mission to find his partner, lost in the endless shuffle of people forced to relocate on account of the outbreak, which has caused a four year global lockdown.
“It’s a dystopian, scary world, but it’s a romantic movie about two people who want to be together, but they can’t,” says director Adam Mason.
While the story was inspired by the pandemic, production was certainly hindered, with shooting taking place prior and throughout lockdown. That said, Mason explained the challenge didn’t completely impede the project.
“I normally do the lighting and the camera work myself,” he tells Entertainment Weekly. “So, I’m used to being very close to the actors and filming in this very intimate way that was perfectly suited to filming during the rules and regulations of the lockdown. I found it incredibly liberating because everyone was just so happy to be involved.”
Adding to the aforementioned thump of the trailer’s landing is a considerable pushback, with many seeing it as extremely inappropriate to be capitalising on a pandemic while people all over the world are still dying.
The trailer certainly won’t do much to quell the fears of everyday citizens, still having to conduct risk assessments before embarking on even the most basic of activities; there’s even concern that it will embolden the rhetoric of anti-maskers, adamant in their predictions of martial law, endless lockdowns and the collapse of society.
On the other hand, this kind of content could result in the much needed kick to the backside many anti-maskers rightfully need.
Production is yet to confirm a release date beyond 2021.