How do you film a soap opera with love scenes and a full crew in the age of wearing masks and social distancing during a pandemic?
The long-running CBS show "The Bold and the Beautiful" believes it can be done with slick camera work, regular testing, a COVID-19 coordinator and "love-scene doubles," as it becomes the first U.S. broadcast series to resume production on Wednesday.
Executive producer Bradley Bell spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about the extensive changes made to filming the show, which has been airing reruns since late April after shutting down production in mid-March. The show plans to make its return with original episodes next month.
"We feel we're ready to go," Bell said. "Safety is our utmost concern and will be as we return to production."
The soap opera, which is filmed in Los Angeles, will follow local safety guidelines as well as testing actors and production employees at least once a week for coronavirus.
As for the love scenes that are an integral part of any soap opera, Bell plans on using a little television magic to make them happen.
"(Actors) will shoot eight feet apart, following all the safety standards, but use the tricks of the business,'' he told The Hollywood Reporter. "We'll shoot one side of the couple in a romantic scene alone in the room, but looking at a spot very close to them, and then shoot the other side alone. When we edit it together, it will look like they're nose to nose."
The husbands and wives of the cast could also see some screen time.
Bell may use "love-scene doubles" in which the husband or wife of the cast member will be the one touching the actor or actress. The scenes will then be edited to look like the couple from the show.
The crew will be separated into different areas for hair and makeup, props and lighting and will have to wear masks, Bell said. The actors also will be wearing masks when they're not filming their scenes.
There also will be plexiglass in the booth and control room separating everyone, and the lighting department has been moved to an auxiliary area, Bell said.
The show has also hired a COVID-19 coordinator who will be on set to ensure that safety guidelines are followed, according to Deadline.
As for whether there will be pandemic-themed storylines in the new episodes, viewers probably won't be seeing Katie confront Wyatt about his reluctance to wear a mask to Costco.
"At this point, we may make mention of the pandemic," Bell said. "But my feeling is it's covered on every other channel and all news channels. We've always been about providing some escapism. We're telling stories about families and romance, love stories and staying clear of diving into the pandemic."