For Don Cheadle and several of the cast members of “No Sudden Move,” the heist movie’s Tribeca Festival premiere was one of the first in-person events they’ve attended since the pandemic began.
“I’m looking forward to the movie, it’s gonna be a crazy experience,” Cheadle told Variety at the film’s Friday night premiere. “I haven’t been to a theater; I’ve seen one movie in a theater with David Harbour. It was the two of us in a 150-seat theater. We rented out the whole place.”
While filming “No Sudden Move,” the two co-stars went together to see Christopher Nolan’s mind-bending thriller “Tenet,” one of the few big-budget films to release in 2020 during the pandemic. However, they were too busy discussing their own film, a crime thriller set in 1950s Detroit directed by Steven Soderbergh, to follow “Tenet’s” time-twisty plot.
“We really talked through a lot of it. We were just focused on our movie; we were in the middle of production,” Cheadle said. “Halfway through the movie we were like, ‘We probably shouldn’t have gone to see a movie, we should’ve gone to dinner.’ So I gotta see it again.”
Like “Tenet,” “No Sudden Move” was rocked by the COVID-19 pandemic, which shut down productions and delayed release dates across the film industry. Production on the Soderbergh film was slated to begin in March 2020, but was immediately pushed back and rescheduled due to the pandemic.
“We shut down a week before we started,” writer Ed Solomon told Variety. “So there was the question, ‘Is this actually going to happen or not?’ When we got the word that we were going again, it was like ‘How do we do this and do it safely and get to the end?’ It was this feeling once we finished, not just of relief, but disbelief that we were able to accomplish it and everyone stayed safe.”
The cast, which includes Benicio del Toro, Jon Hamm, Ray Liotta, Noah Jupe, Julia Fox, Amy Seimetz, Brendan Fraser, Frankie Shaw and Bill Duke, had to carefully navigate COVID restrictions while filming, which everyone took seriously.
“You get COVID, the production is shutting down for two weeks and it’s gonna cost millions of dollars and you’ll never work again,” Fox told Variety. “There’s a lot of pressure. I didn’t even want to leave the room. That was kind of scary. I didn’t want to be the reason the production was halted.”
The blue Tribeca carpet buzzed with chatter from reporters and publicists about being back at an in-person premiere. Several times people asked, “Do we need to wear masks?”
“It’s surreal. A lot of people felt like we’d never get here this year,” Seimetz told Variety. “It’s been a year of not being able to be in person and communally enjoy an experience. This is the first event that I’ve gone to in person where there’s you and many other people. It’s a little surreal right now.”
Just three nights earlier, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo celebrated the end of most of the state’s COVID restrictions by launching fireworks around the city, including Battery Park, where the Tribeca Festival was held.
“New York is finally starting to open up again. It feels like a rebirth in a way. It feels like a brand new New York,” Fox said.
While people grapple with abandoning face masks or continuing to wear them, it’s clear that in-person events and movies are back.
“I’m dying to be in groups of people experiencing things together,” Harbour told Variety. “We are social animals. I miss people, I miss being in environments with people. I don’t even know that movies need to be that good, just the fact that they’re open and available and people are vaccinated and feel safe is enough reason to get back out there and live our lives again.”
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