March 14, 2020 / 4:45 PM / 18 days ago

Spielberg-produced Amazon mini-series in Mexico put on hold over coronavirus - letter

Director and producer Steven Spielberg attends the European Premiere of Ready Player One in London, Britain, March 19, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls/Files

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The filming in Mexico of a big budget Steven Spielberg-produced Amazon mini-series, starring Spanish actor Javier Bardem, has been suspended due to concerns about the coronavirus, according to a letter sent to cast and crew on Friday and seen by Reuters.

The production entitled Mexica, which centers on the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs, began filming two weeks ago on location in Mexico City. Mexico has so far confirmed 26 cases of coronavirus.

Only a skeletal wrap crew will continue working through next week, and cast and crew were informed that production might resume in December depending on how the public health crisis develops.

The project’s budget is believed to be tens of millions of dollars, and dozens of local contractors will be affected by the suspension.

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The move came after the cancellation of the Guadalajara International Film Festival, set to kick off in Mexico’s second biggest city late next week, and as U.S. studios delayed filming.

Walt Disney Co on Friday said it has halted production on some live-action films for a short time on concerns over the rapidly spreading coronavirus.

Warner Bros. Pictures said on Saturday the company had put production of “The Batman” movie on hold for two weeks.

Some 153,025 people have been infected by the coronavirus across the world and 5,788 have died, according to a Reuters tally.

Reporting by Mexico City Newsroom; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Diane Craft

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