Coronavirus Crisis Escalates, Shuts Down 'Mission Impossible' Filming

Tom Cruise returns as Ethan Hunt in "Mission Impossible: Fallout." (Paramount Pictures)

The stock market is tanking on news that COVID-19 is spreading around the world, and President Donald Trump is reportedly privately raging at staffers for their handling of the situation.

But the coronavirus plague has truly escalated into an international crisis by shutting down production on the latest "Mission Impossible" movie.

The coronavirus has surfaced in Italy, and Paramount Pictures has canceled a scheduled three-week shoot in Venice after the Italian government shut down the city's annual carnival celebrations.

Paramount issued a statement to The Hollywood Reporter: "Out of an abundance of caution for the safety and well-being of our cast and crew, and efforts of the local Venetian government to halt public gatherings in response to the threat of coronavirus, we are altering the production plan for our three-week shoot in Venice, the scheduled first leg of an extensive production for 'Mission: Impossible 7.' During this hiatus, we want to be mindful of the concerns of the crew and are allowing them to return home until production starts. We will continue to monitor this situation, and work alongside health and government officials as it evolves."

Obviously, with the upcoming June release of "Top Gun: Maverick," no one wants Tom Cruise to get sick and die from a modern-day plague. THR claims that the "Mission Impossible" star was never in Italy before the shoot, but the United Kingdom's Daily Mail claims that Cruise is "holed up" at the five-star Hotel Gritti Palace.

Admittedly, the Daily Mail doesn't have a spotless track record when it comes to publishing the facts, but it's hard to imagine the man who embodies Ethan Hunt and Pete "Maverick" Mitchell hiding out from a mere virus, no matter how lethal.

There are no details as to whether the Venice cancellation will impact the movie's scheduled release in July 2021. The Hollywood trade press declined to speculate, but the U.K. tabloid has all its warning sirens blaring when it comes to a delay.

If the movie's script was using the Venice carnival as a plot element similar to the way the last James Bond movie "Spectre" incorporated Mexico's Day of the Dead celebration, the crew may have to wait to return to Venice next year. 

Here's hoping that Tom Cruise and the rest of the cast and crew didn't encounter any coronavirus germs. We're four months and one day away from the June 26 release of "Top Gun: Maverick," and everyone needs Tom to be healthy and active on such an important day in Navy history.

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