The Covid crisis has sent the whole word into a tailspin, forcing everyone to adapt to the situation as best we can. One particularly encouraging testament of adaptation has been filmmaker Adam Mason’s (Hangman, I’m Just F*cking with You) decision to make the most of a unique opportunity just 24 hours after having been forced to shut down pre-production on a film he was working on when lockdown came into force.
To cut a long story short, Mason’s writing partner, Simon Boyes, called him to suggest filming a documentary on their mobile phones and laptops with the help of a few friends. The writing duo put their heads together and came up with a simple 10-page outline which they submitted to producer Adam Goodman. As soon as they had submitted their idea, Goodman told them he wanted to make something much bigger and before they knew it, Michael Bay was on board to produce. Subsequently, the home-grown documentary idea was ditched in favour of the full-blown Hollywood dystopian thriller, “Songbird”.
Dissecting the effects of increasing isolation, militarised enforcement, fear and loss – all of which is buoyed by a huge ensemble cast including KJ Apa, Sofia Carson, Bradley Whitford, Craig Robinson, Peter Stormare, Alexandra Daddario and Demi Moore – Songbird is set four years in the future when the Covid virus has mutated into a more infectious and deadlier strain: COVID-23. As a result, the infected are ripped from their homes and forced into quarantine camps known as Q-Zones.
Amid this dystopian landscape, a fearless courier, Nico (Apa), who is immune to the deadly pathogen, finds hope and love with Sara (Carson), though her lockdown prohibits them from physical contact. But, when Sara is believed to have become infected, Nico races desperately across the barren streets of Los Angeles in search of the only thing that can prevent her from being sent to a Q-Zone … or worse.
With “Songbird” releasing to UK cinemas and VOD today (Friday 11 December), SCREAM sat down with Mason to discuss the implications of filming a pandemic film during lockdown and how he believes the film will provide some much needed catharsis during these difficult times.
Words: Howard Gorman