On-Set Injury, Political Tensions Disrupt Amazon’s ‘ZeroZeroZero,’ Push Premiere to 2020 (EXCLUSIVE)

Production of “Zero Zero Zero” has been delayed by several months as a result of an on-set injury to star Andrea Riseborough, and political tensions in Mexico that disrupted the cocaine drama’s location schedule, Variety has learned exclusively.

Riseborough was injured while shooting last year in Morocco, according to Riccardo Tozzi, founder of Cattleya, the Italian production company behind the show. He declined to comment more specifically on the nature of her injuries or how she sustained them, calling the cause of the injury “something that could happen to you or me,” but said that filming was halted around November of last year and further paused for the holidays before resuming in mid-January.

While a source close to the production told Variety that Riseborough broke parts of both legs, Cattleya’s co-CEO Marco Chimenz calls that description “meritless.” When asked about the nature of Riseborough’s injuries and whether she had sustained breaks in both legs, a spokesperson for the actor declined to comment.

“The circumstances were quite banal, of the sort that could happen anywhere at anytime, even while simply walking down a sidewalk, for instance,” said Chimenz via email. “It was painful, and it did take some time for her to recover fully, but no surgery nor even a cast were required, just rest and physical therapy.  She has been shooting since mid-January and is elated to be back at work and on this show.”

A representative for Amazon Studios, which will stream the series in the U.S., declined to comment. When asked whether an on-set safety review or investigation was made into Riseborough’s injuries, Cattleya and Canal+, a partner on the production, did not immediately respond.

An eight-part international drug trafficking series, based on the Robert Saviano novel and developed by the same team behind “Gomorrah,” “ZeroZeroZero” is an ambitious undertaking that follows a shipment of cocaine around the world. Filming, which began in the spring of 2018, involved three different directors, including Stefano Sollima, who also directed “Gomorrah.” Riseborough, Gabriel Byrne and Dane DeHaan star in the series.

“ZeroZeroZero” is filming across the globe. Locations include New Orleans, Louisiana; several parts of Mexico; Calabria, Italy; and Morocco. Shooting recently began in Senegal, the last location, with overall production scheduled to wrap in March.

Adding to the production’s delays, according to Tozzi, were political tensions on a local level in Monterrey, Mexico, that stemmed from the country’s general election in mid-2018. Even after the Italian ambassador spoke with the mayor of Monterrey, Tozzi said, the production was ultimately forced to scout alternate locations in the country.

Calling it a “very frustrating permitting process,” Chimenz said that “at the very last minute, our permits to shoot were pulled despite the then-mayor’s promises to the contrary.” Still, he emphasized that that was “the only negative” the team experienced in Mexico.

“We have nothing but the highest regards for the Mexican film and television production industry, and despite our disappointment with one political reality that did cause a production delay and a significant increase of costs, we wholeheartedly recommend Mexico as a production location,” said Chimenz.

Scenes were filmed in Mexico City and Veracruz as planned. Tozzi called the circumstances in Monterrey a “unique accident.”

According to Tozzi, the months-long production delays mean that the series’ release has been pushed to January or February in 2020 from late 2019. Post-production should be completed later this year. Outside of the delays, production has been a “great experience,” he said, adding that the first two episodes have been mixed and edited.

HBO acquired the rights to “ZeroZeroZero” for Central and Eastern Europe and the Nordic markets from distributor Studiocanal. American viewers will be able to watch the series through Amazon, the show’s distributor Stateside.

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