Mike Flanagan’s Midnight Mass series was shot entirely during pandemic

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

After a shutdown that lasted for several months, films and TV shows are back in production during the ongoing pandemic, with strict safety protocols in place in hopes of preventing the spread of COVID-19 among cast and crew. Even with those precautions being taken, several productions have had to go on a two-week break due to positive test results. The Batman; Jurassic World: Dominion; Olivia Wilde's Don't Worry, Darling; Mission: Impossible 7, they've all hit the speed bump of positive COVID-19 tests. But one production that made it through without any COVID interruptions was Midnight Mass, the new mini-series writer/director Mike Flanagan has made for Netflix.

The fact that Flanagan was able to wrap Midnight Mass without taking any breaks is especially impressive given that the production lasted from August 17th through December 15th, allowing for 83 shooting days. 83 days that apparently went quite smoothly.

Flanagan celebrated the wrap of Midnight Mass by taking to Twitter and sharing several tweets about the making of the show – which he described as "the best production experience of my career". Some of what Flanagan wrote can be seen below. To see more, head over to his Twitter account.

That's a wrap on MIDNIGHT MASS. It has been an extraordinary, unprecedented production, and I cannot be prouder of this amazing cast and crew. In fact – and I do not say this lightly – this has been the best production experience of my career.

Our COVID safety protocols were thorough, scientific, and strictly enforced. Our precautions paid off – we did not miss a single day of production, and unlike a lot of other shows, we did not shut down once. Not one time. 83 shooting days, without interruption. Which isn’t to say it wasn’t harrowing. HUGE crew. Dozens of extras. Over 100 people in some interior scenes. It was the biggest and most ambitious project of my career thus far, and figuring out how to accomplish it safely became an unprecedented challenge.

Our cast and crew demonstrated remarkable respect, caution, and care for each other on a daily basis, choosing to protect each other with their behavior, both on set and off. KN95 masks, face shields and hand sanitation became a way of daily life. … COVID testing became routine. Once or twice a week depending on the department, even daily testing once we got into large interior sequences. Having the swab stuck up our noses became normal. As time went on, we’d have thoughtful debates about which TYPE of swab we preferred.

But we embraced the new normal. We didn’t pay attention to rumors that other productions were being looser with their protocols, we didn’t panic if we heard about other shows having cases or shutting down. We just took care of each other and stuck to our protocols. Newcomers and day players were expected to adhere, and the cast and crew made sure they did. If someone chose not to, they weren’t here long. The overwhelming majority of people embraced the protocols and were grateful that they were there.

It paid off. Other productions began calling for advice. As days turned into weeks and the weeks turned into months and we kept working, we began to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It wasn’t just that we might actually wrap the show… we might actually wrap ON SCHEDULE. And now, today, we did. On time, on target. The plan we outlined last Spring, which seemed almost impossible in its complexity and uncertainty, actually WORKED. It’s as though we threw a dart in June, and somehow – against all odds – watched it hit the bullseye in December.

This series has been a dream project of mine for many, many years. It is the most personal story I’ve ever told. I’ve been reluctant to direct a whole season again after HILL HOUSE, but I’m so glad I did in this case. I am so lucky to have worked with this cast and crew.

Midnight Mass is expected to consist of seven episodes. It tells the story of 

an isolated island community that experiences miraculous events — and frightening omens — after the arrival of a charismatic, mysterious young priest. 

The cast includes Kate Siegel, Zach Gilford, Hamish Linklater, Henry Thomas, Annabeth Gish, Robert Longstreet, Alex Essoe, Michael Trucco, Samantha Sloyan, Rahul Abburi, Crystal Balint, Matt Biedel, Rahul Kohli, Kristin Lehman, Igby Rigney, and Annarah Shephard.

Trevor Macy executive produced Midnight Mass with the writer/director.

Source: Mike Flanagan

About the Author

Cody is a news editor and film critic, focused on the horror arm of JoBlo.com, and writes scripts for videos that are released through the JoBlo Originals and JoBlo Horror Originals YouTube channels. In his spare time, he's a globe-trotting digital nomad, runs a personal blog called Life Between Frames, and writes novels and screenplays.