I just heard that Summit Entertainment and New Regency are declaring “force majeure” because of the two-week shutdown of the 3D film. The wildfires have been raging in Russia killing at least 52 people and displacing tens of thousands of others after an unprecedented heat wave and drought gripped the region this summer. Moscow has been shrouded in smoke from a burning peat bog, and pollution levels are so high that experts say breathing has become as dangerous as smoking several packs of cigarettes a day. The Darkest Hour was supposed to shoot entirely on location in Moscow throughout the late summer and use the most cutting-edge 3D technology of producer Timur Bekmambetov’s Moscow-based film, commercial, and effects company Bazelevs. At the end of shooting Thursday evening, cast and crew were told that filming would be suspended because smoke in the area had made shooting exterior scenes impossible. An insider emails me, “The cast and crew were assured that the production would be completed.”

Summit Entertainment issued this statement: “On any production, the health and safety of the actors and crew is of primary concern. The potential health issues and spread of fire has forced the production to be put on hold for two weeks in order to allow things to stabilize in the area. We do not foresee this temporary stoppage of filming effecting the film’s wrap date as we always build contingencies into a production schedule to account for unforeseen situations.”

Emile Hirsch, Max Minghella, Olivia Thirlby, and Rachael Taylor are the principal actors in The Darkest Hour directed by Chris Gorak from a screenplay by Jon Spaihts, based on the script by Leslie Bohem & M.T. Ahern. Tom Jacobson joins Bekmambetov producing.

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