When pandemic lockdowns began in earnest last year, it was hard to imagine what kind of impact they'd have on films. The appropriately-named heist comedy Locked Down (premiering January 14 on HBO Max) is just one look at how filmmaking has changed in light of the novel coronavirus lockdowns. Not only does its entire premise revolve around the lockdowns that happened early on in London, but it was created while working within those strict lockdown guidelines. That's right — Locked Down was filmed over just a few months in the midst of London's lockdown protocols in late 2020.
Director Doug Liman had a chat with Variety, explaining the production and how it came about in the middle of the pandemic. Liman said, "This movie is not only about this moment in time; it’s a product of this moment in time. I’m sure Steven Spielberg will get an Oscar in three years for the movie he makes about the pandemic, but this film holds a mirror to what we’ve gone through."
According to Variety, the film was seeking studio support in September 2020 with nothing more than a half-completed script, and yet it managed to wrap filming by October that year. The shoot was then conducted over three weeks, which is a monumental task, especially given how much the crew had to work around lockdown guidelines.
But luckily, the premise was tailor-made to fit those guidelines. It centers on a recently-broken up couple, Linda (Anne Hathaway) and Paxton (Chiwetel Ejiofor), who are stuck living together as a result of the lockdown. As they try their best to give each other distance in their West London townhouse, an opportunity arises for Paxton to carry out a heist on none other than Harrod's, the world-famous department store located in London. Linda just so happens to be an executive at Harrod's, and offers to help him carry out the heist, all in the midst of the store's work to empty its shelves and store its merchandise as it closes for the pandemic.
It's a fun premise for a story, and it also features some appearances from other stars who shot their scenes via videoconferencing, really delivering that working-from-home feeling. As Variety reports, Mindy Kaling, Ben Kingsley, Dulé Hill and Stephen Merchant all filmed their parts remotely, using their laptops at home. The result is a fun take on an otherwise difficult period in many people's lives.