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Life imitates art for actress Rosie Johnson after film shoot in northern Italy is affected by coronavirus outbreak




Life began to imitate art for a young Lidgate actress last week as she found herself caught up in the coronavirus outbreak while shooting a film in northern Italy.

Rosie Johnson had flown to Venice Marco Polo Airport on February 22 to shoot a film about the Florentine plague, the plot of which follows a group of aristocrats in renaissance Italy who shut themselves inside to avoid catching the illness.

“The bizarre parallels didn’t hit us until we touched down in Venice and that was when it all started to kick off,” said the 18-year-old.

Rosie Johnson was shooting a film in northern Italy at the time of the coronavirus outbreak. Picture: Blazej Mikula (30796721)
Rosie Johnson was shooting a film in northern Italy at the time of the coronavirus outbreak. Picture: Blazej Mikula (30796721)

“It wasn’t until we heard that a carnival which hadn’t been cancelled in 80 years wouldn’t be going ahead that we thought it must be a bigger problem that we first thought.”

The 19-strong film crew was taken to the Godi Malinverni villa in Veneto, one of the areas currently on lockdown due to the coronavirus spread, where filming was due to take place from February 24 to 28.

“We were lucky in that we had free rein on the site and so in that sense were already self- isolated,” said Rosie, who studied at the Conservatoire EAST at West Suffolk College.

Rosie Johnson was shooting a film in northern Italy at the time of the coronavirus outbreak. Picture: Blazej Mikula (30796723)
Rosie Johnson was shooting a film in northern Italy at the time of the coronavirus outbreak. Picture: Blazej Mikula (30796723)

“We kept to ourselves as much as we could to prevent any additional risk. It was like a ghost town wherever we went and it was clear people were really concerned about the issue.”

Despite putting on a brave face and continuing with filming, Rosie said the worry was always in the back of her head.

“I kept thinking about the job I had to go to when I got home and whether we’d be able to fly home at all or if we’d be held at the airport,” she said.

“I was worried about it because we had no information really and everything we saw was in Italian. I had to depend on my parents sending me information about what to do.”

The teenager said she was relieved to arrive back at Gatwick Airport but that the group were all still having to deal with the aftermath of their trip.

“We’re in constant contact with NHS 111 and although no-one in the group is exhibiting symptoms, we’re staying in our houses until we’re absolutely sure,” she said.


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