Sean Penn has finally returned to finish what he started on Gaslit. The actor who famously refused to film the series unless the cast and crew are fully vaccinated is officially returning to finish the project.
As Deadline reported Thursday, Penn returned to the set after a two-month absence after reaching an agreement with the production team about who will be on set — and their vaccination status — while he films his part in the series. Back in July, he said he would not appear in the Starz production until everyone involved was fully vaccinated. But the agreement reached this week is a compromise of sorts.
While the production continued to shoot without Penn, he and the studio finally reached a compromise. The entire crew he is working with today is vaccinated.
As the report indicated, Penn’s demand to have everyone on set fully vaccinated, while noble when it came to the coronavirus pandemic and the rise of the Delta variant, put the studio in a tough place due to contracts already negotiated before the star’s requests were made. The studio attempted at first to extremely limit who was on set, one of the many pandemic mitigation efforts productions across the world have done. And there were even attempts to encourage vaccinations on set through various organizations.
This was not sufficient to Penn, and insiders at the time said he was not doing this to embarrass the studio or out of fears he and other stars might get exposed. Penn had been fully vaccinated, and this was about principle. He volunteered to have CORE facilitate the vaccinations, free of charge, but he wanted them to be mandatory. That created the stalemate. It put NBCUniversal in a spot — like every studio, they’ve gone as far as possible with safety protocols, but could not legally go beyond terms negotiated between Hollywood unions and major companies that limited vaccinations on films and TV productions only for Zone A.
That stalemate is officially broken as of Thursday. And while we don’t know just how many people were vaccinated because of the pressure Penn put on production, it seems that after a long summer away from the set he did get what he wanted, more or less.