|A poster for the film "Festival," left, and JTBC's drama series "Hush." / Korea Times file|
By Kwak Yeon-soo
Film promotional events and TV productions are being halted as the country experiences a COVID-19 resurgence.
On Tuesday, the press conference for the film "Festival" was abruptly canceled because actor So Ju-yeon had a COVID-19 test after an extra on a drama series she was shooting tested positive to the virus.
"Although So and the crew member weren't in direct contact with the extra from 'City Couple's Way of Love,' they had COVID-19 tests for safety," an official from the film's distributor said, Tuesday. Their tests came back negative on Wednesday.
Another lead actor, Ha Jun, is in quarantine after he was possibly exposed to the virus, and press interviews have been canceled.
Since the beginning of November, the number of new confirmed cases in Korea has shot up, prompting authorities to step up restrictions in the Seoul metropolitan area. The government upgraded the city's alert status from level 1.5 to level 2 on Tuesday. Some 382 confirmed cases were reported on Wednesday.
Many TV production companies, including JTBC, CJ ENM and SBS, have suspended work in response to suspected virus cases among production staff. Korean dramas are heavily affected because they are often produced on a short turnaround.
JTBC has halted three drama series ― "Sisyphus: The Myth," "Hush" and "Snowdrop" ― because at least one staff member of each production tested positive.
"Sisyphus" actor Park Shin-hye, who tested negative for COVID-19 before press interviews, said, "I didn't come in contact with the extra who tested positive, but I took the test as a precautionary measure. I'm relieved that the test came out negative or otherwise I wouldn't be able to carry on with my schedule. I hope other crew members are OK too because we only have a week more to wrap up filming the series."
"Hush," starring Yoona from Girls' Generation and Hwang Jung-min, stopped production after one staff member tested positive on Tuesday. However, it will go ahead with airing its first episode on Dec. 11 as planned.
"Snowdrop," featuring Jisoo from BLACKPINK and Jung Hae-in, has resumed filming after crew members tested negative to COVID-19.
TvN drama series "Mr. Queen," starring Shin Hae-sun and Kim Jung-hyun, was affected after a crew member went to the site of another TV production where a visitor had tested positive to COVID-19. The series is set to air from Dec. 12.
SBS's "Penthouse" and MBC's "The Spy Who Loved Me" are also affected by stoppages, but it is not clear whether their airing dates will be changed.
Kakao TV's much anticipated rom-com "City Couple's Way of Love," starring Kim Ji-won and Ji Chang-wook, has stopped filming for the safety of the cast and crew after an extra tested positive to COVID-19.