During the TCA winter press tour, Mystic Quest creator and star Rob McElhenney opened up about life on set after a COVID outbreak closed filming down for a few weeks. This involved the cast getting multiple tests a week and loads of available PPE.
Season 2 of the hit Apple TV+ series will arrive on May 7, and McElhenney talked with journalists ahead of the new season. “We hired a third party–a team of scientists and doctors that an epidemiologist to make sure that we were going to be as safe as we could possibly be, which meant testing as many times as five times a week,” McElhenney explained. “I know that we were tested–the people in Zone A were tested–three times a week, and if we had crowd scenes, which we tried to mitigate as much as possible, or intimate scenes or things like that, we would be rapid tested as well. So there were points at which I was tested [Along with other stars of the show] five or six times a week.”
McElhenney went on to explain there was extensive PPE on set, which included eating in what he said looked a lot like phone booths outside. “We knew that nothing is 100% safe, and if we were going to make the decision to go back to work, we could do the best we could do.”
However, infections did happen on set, even with all of this in place. “Unfortunately, certain things are just uncontrollable, especially if you’re finding that you can’t police everybody all the time,” McElhenney continued. “As we all know, it becomes difficult because we are social animals, and we have a way that we’re used to working, and that people fall back into those ways, regardless of how many times they’re reminded or we’re all learned that we need to keep our face shields down as well as the mask and please stay six feet apart from each other. It’s 200 people working together in the sound stages, and it’s really really difficult.”
There was an eight-week time period where there was no transmission, and McElhenney went on to state that when there were the one or two positive cases, that those people were sequestered and sent home immediately. “Luckily, everybody was fine and was able to return to work,” he continued. “And there was one, possibly two events where we realized there may have been transfer at work.”
These transmissions were sourced back to Zone B or Zone C during set construction. However, they couldn’t figure out where exactly it originated from through contract tracing. “We did everything we could based on the information that we had [and] immediately shut down for two to three weeks before we felt like it was safe to come back again.” he continued. “A lot of this was really unfortunate, and we were just doing our best.”
Season 2 of Mythic Quest will arrive to Apple TV+ on May 7, and a new teaser for the upcoming episodes has been released.