Mission Impossible studio Paramount sues insurers over Covid costs

Paramount Pictures, the studio behind the Mission Impossible: 7 film, is suing its insurance company, accusing it of failing to cover the costs of a string of Covid-related production stoppages.

Production of the film, starring Tom Cruise as secret agent Ethan Hunt, has been stopped seven times since filming first began in Venice in February 2020, just as the pandemic began to gain pace in Europe.

Filming was stopped later that same month and was not able to restart as scheduled in Rome last March, after the Italian government introduced a nationwide lockdown to try to control the pandemic.

The film’s production has been halted four times in Italy and a further three times since filming was moved to the UK, between February 2020 and June 2021.

Some of the production stoppages were prompted by lockdowns in the countries in which the spy thriller was being filmed, while others – including the most recent in June in the UK – resulted from a member of the cast or crew testing positive for coronavirus.

The lawsuit filed by Paramount in US federal court in California alleges that its insurance firm failed to pay out for all but one of the costly stoppages.

Paramount has accused the Federal Insurance Company, based in the US state of Indiana, of breach of contract, and said the insurance firm had only agreed to pay out $5m (£3.6m) for the first production pause.

Paramount’s lawyers said the studio was covered for losses in excess of $100m resulting from the delays and stoppages.

A spokesperson for Chubb, Federal Insurance’s parent company, gesê: “Chubb does not comment on pending legal matters.”

The impact of lengthy and costly delays to the filming of Mission: Impossible 7 was revealed last December, when an audio recording was released of Cruise launching an expletive-laden rant at colleagues on the film’s set, following apparent breaches of social distancing guidelines.

Cruise can be heard on the recording telling the crew that any further breaches would result in that person being “fired”, and that film industry workers were losing their jobs because of Covid-related shutdowns.

Production of Mission: Impossible 7 has restarted and filming is currently taking place in Birmingham. The film is due to be released in May 2022.

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