Lady in the Lake, an upcoming Apple TV+ series starring Natalie Portman, has stopped production after several Baltimore locals allegedly threatened producers and tried to extort them.
The crew was filming in downtown Baltimore around 4 pm Friday when they were approached by several people. The group made multiple threats, and said they would return and shoot someone if the production didn’t stop filming, a police spokesperson told The Baltimore Banner.
The perpetrators said nothing would happen as long as they were paid. According to The Banner, drug dealers then attempted to extort $50,000 from the production, which producers declined to pay. Instead, it was decided that filming would be halted until a new location was found.
As of Sunday, it’s unknown when the series might resume filming.
Directed and co-written by Alma Har’el, the limited series takes place in 1960s Baltimore, where an unsolved murder pushes housewife and mother Maddie Schwartz (played by Portman) to reinvent her life as an investigative journalist and sets her on a collision course with Cleo Sherwood, a hard-working woman juggling motherhood, many jobs and a passionate commitment to advancing Baltimore’s Black progressive agenda.
Lady in the Lake‘s ensemble cast includes Y’Lan Noel (Insecure), Mikey Madison (Better Things) and Brett Gelman (Stranger Things). In June, Moses Ingram stepped in to replace Lupita Nyong’o in the role of Cleo.
Portman and Har’el serve as executive producers along with Dre Ryan.
UPDATE: Police are now painting a much different picture of what happened on the set of Lady in the Lake, according to The Hollywood Reporter, saying the reported threats were “overstated or inaccurate.” Police now attribute the incident to a local street vendor who was upset because he hadn’t yet been compensated for lost business, along with a group of disruptive individuals, but found no evidence that a gun was brandished at any point. Detectives are currently “in the process of interviewing additional individuals, and this is still an open and ongoing investigation,” per a police statement.