OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A local actor arrived back in Oklahoma City on Friday afternoon after being quarantined in China. He had just begun filming a high-profile movie in the country.
“Ghost town. Like apocalyptic ghost town. Not a soul,” said actor William Row.
Row was living the dream when he landed a role in a film set to shoot in China. But just before filming started, everything changed.
“I was over by Dandong, a city called Kuandian,” Row said. “It’s a town of 200,000-300,000, then instantly overnight, not a soul. Not a stray dog. Nothing.”
He was over 1,200 miles from the virus’ epicenter of Wuhan, but close enough to see firsthand as fears of the coronavirus turned the once lively city into a ghost town.
“Didn’t actually get to shoot anything. We went through all of our training, all of our basic – all this stuff, then the virus hit,” Row said.
While he says there were only a handful cases confirmed near him, the virus forced his film to hit the brakes.
Row, along with other Americans, was quarantined in a hotel for a week, unable to leave their rooms until U.S. officials said otherwise. They barely made it out of the country before the travel ban was issued.
“I was the first group that got out, luckily. I feel like we were like a test group. There were ten of us that they sent out,” Row said.
Row was required to keep on a mask for over 30 hours of travel, even having his temperature taken multiple times while in the air – not to mention the intense screening at airports along the way.
“We got a lot of really weird looks. It’s like if you walked in with a mask, they knew you were coming from China,” Row said.
For now, Row says the show must go on.
“I guess I’ll go to work, start taking on some other projects,” Row said.
Row says the film he was working on has been put on hold, but he holds out hope shooting will eventually resume.
Row is currently being represented by The Tabb Agency in Oklahoma City. It was first established by Sharon Tabb in 2011.