Editor’s Note: Whether on screen or off, Hollywood can always be counted on to keep us entertained. This is especially true when it comes to politics. Liberty Nation’s Hollyweird column shines the spotlight on Tinseltown’s A-listers and their wild and wacky takes on today’s current events.
Hey, did you hear that a television production of Lady in the Lake starring Natalie Portman was shut down in Baltimore because a group of drug dealers threatened to shoot them if they didn’t stop filming? Did you also read about how the group tried to extort the crew, saying they could continue shooting the show if they agreed to pay $50,000 to use the area?
Well, guess what? Apparently, that’s not true and there’s a perfectly good explanation (or two) for what really happened … or at least for now. Investigators are still trying to get to the truth of the matter, but here’s what we have so far.
Natalie Portman Production Stalled
The actress is well-known for starring in several films, including her most recent release, Thor: Love and Thunder; however, Lady in the Lake is to be a first foray into television acting by Natalie Portman, and it was almost a bust – at least according to media hype.
First reports said the incident happened around 4 p.m. on Friday, August 26 in downtown Baltimore. A group of “drug dealers” threatened the cast and crew and pulled out a firearm, threatening to come back and “shoot someone” if they didn’t halt production. Unless, of course, the producers agreed to pay $50,000 to use the area. “The leaders of the production decided to err on the side of caution and reschedule the shoot after they found another location,” police explained.
But wait. That’s not what happened. By Sunday, August 28, there was a different explanation. Now, it was just two individuals who approached a production driver early, before the cast or crew had arrived at the set. A statement by Endeavor Content studio claimed one of the men “brandished a gun directed at our driver, then fled the location.”
However, a police report contradicts both of those accounts of the incident. The statement implied there could have been a disruptive group, but there were conflicting statements and whether that happened was unclear at this point. The threats described turned out to be inaccurate or just overstated. In fact, the production member who claimed someone had “brandished” a gun at the workers “retracted his original statement” and said the driver claimed to have seen a firearm. The police report stated that “[The brandishing of the gun] was determined to be inaccurate and the victim’s recollection of the incident changed during the investigation.” The threat to shoot someone turned into a local group threatening to “shoot in the air” if they didn’t get money, but that person did not have firsthand knowledge of the alleged incident.
So, what really happened? Well, yet again, another explanation surfaced, much different than the first two supposed happenings. Police viewed the CCTC camera footage and found a local street vendor of interest. Apparently, the man was upset because the production company took over his vender area where he sold clothing and he had not been compensated for the business he lost during the project’s shooting. He told detectives that he had talked with a crew member as well as a security manager and had been waiting for paperwork to get the compensation. Instead, the man was arrested on a narcotics charge.
That’s what we have so far, but who knows how many times the details of what really happened will change.
On a lighter note, Lady in the Lake is a television series set to be released on Apple+. Set in the 1960s in Baltimore. Natalie Portman plays a white housewife-turned-reporter investigating unsolved murders. She runs into trouble with the black community who are fighting for social justice.
The series is based off the book by the same name from author Laura Lippman who is a writer with more than 20 novels under her belt and a former Baltimore Sun reporter. Filming started in April in Maryland and is expected to continue through October.
Tune in next time to see what else Tinseltown has planned.