Following threats of violence from Baltimore residents, filming for Lady in the Lake, Natalie Portman’s planned Apple TV+ series, has been suspended. Creator Alma Har’el, who previously rose to fame with the release of her highly praised feature film debut, Honey Boy, is slated to helm every episode of Lady in the Lake. The remaining cast members of the show, in addition to Portman, are Y’Lan Noel, Mikey Madison, Brett Gelman, Noah Jupe, Mike Epps, and Byron Bowers.
The miniseries, which is based on Laura Lippman’s 2019 book of the same name, is set in the 1960s and follows Maddie Schwartz, a budding investigative journalist, as she attempts to solve the enigma surrounding the strange passing of young mother and progressive activist Cleo Sherwood. The project was first mentioned by the streaming service back in March 2021, when Portman and Lupita Nyong’o had already committed to playing Schwartz and Sherwood, respectively.
Several months ago, Lady in the Lake began filming in Baltimore but, as reported by Deadline, filming has been halted as a result of threats from the local community. The Baltimore Police Department claims that while the crew was filming in the downtown area, several individuals approached the producers and threatened to shoot someone if they didn’t stop. The workers asked to be paid an undefined amount, which caused the entire production to stop while they looked for a new location. Drug traffickers allegedly tried to extort $50,000 from the production, but the producers refused to pay, according to The Baltimore Banner.
This unusual explanation for a production delay has probably raised some concerns among those working on Lady in the Lake. Productions have been hampered by a series of troubling incidents over the previous year, including the tragic gunshot on the Rust set and an actual gunfight and separate explosive device affecting the Justified revival. Fortunately, no one appears to have been hurt in the case of Lady in the Lake. It’s wise of the producers to take precautions and move the series to a new site, which should secure everyone’s safety.
It will be fascinating to see if Lady in the Lake’s eventual release is impacted by the development stop that is currently taking place. Although a new filming location will probably be discovered sooner rather than later, there might still be problems with future reshoots or having to match any material already shot. There’s no specific launch date, so there’s no real need to find a new location for filming.