More Details on Improper Conduct Claims – Deadline

EXCLUSIVE: Until May 4th, the cast and crew of Netflix The Fall of the House of Usher had moved on. It had been three weeks since star Frank Langella had been fired following an investigation into complaints of unacceptable behavior and Bruce Greenwood had just been cast as his replacement. Then the incident returned to headlines with Langella’s fiery op-ed on Deadline, in which he portrayed himself as “collateral damage” and a victim of the abandonment culture, which he called “not fair,” “not just,” and “not American.”

The reaction to Langella’s column was not uniform. He received support – some in Hollywood called his statement powerful and praised the Oscar-nominated actor for speaking out. The reaction from the cast and crew of The Fall of the House of Usherin the meantime, was largely in shock, disbelief and anger, multiple sources tell Deadline, bringing back memories of Langella’s time on the show and the investigation that led to his firing. The column also sparked debate about freedom of artistic expression versus appropriate behavior in the workplace and about cultural conflicts between generations as social norms change and evolve.

Deadline interviewed a number of people in or close to Netflix production who declined to be named for this story. A word that was consistently used by virtually everyone when describing Langella’s behavior was “venomous,” as they recalled inappropriate comments and behavior, as well as “gross” jokes he allegedly made.

“There was a general sense of toxicity that went along with it,” said one person who worked on the series. “A lot of the cast and crew felt very uncomfortable around Frank from the start.”

Netflix and Langella officials did not respond to requests for comment. In his column, Langella made it clear that he did not agree with his resignation. He has met with lawyers and is said to be considering legal action.

In the column, Langella, 84, details the incident which he says was at the heart of his sacking. According to him, it was a young actress who complained that during a love scene he had touched her leg in a way that had not been blocked by the intimacy coordinator.

While Netflix’s investigation was prompted by the touching complaint Langella spoke about, the internal investigation looked into more than a dozen incidents and allegations over the course of several weeks, sources told Deadline. Other sources claim that the bulk of the investigation unfolded in the 48 hours following the touching incident, and this complaint was one of several that Netflix ultimately found actionable.

In his column, Langella spoke about the investigation and described “some of the allegations: 1. ‘He told an indecent joke.’ 2. ‘Sometimes he called me ‘baby’ or ‘honey’.” 3. ‘He hugged me or touched my shoulder.’

People who worked with Langella on the Netflix series provided more details about some of the incidents, which sources say began in the first week of production.

“There was an immediate problem with very inappropriate comments, some of which were incredibly sexual in nature, others graphic and misogynistic,” one person from the show said of Langella, stressing that the comments were “not jokes, they were shocking” to pretty much everyone in earshot.”

Here are a few examples that Deadline has been able to confirm with multiple sources; The alleged incidents were part of the investigation, sources said.

Langella had a habit of saying “randomly or out loud things that weren’t in the script” during blocking or rehearsals, two production people told Deadline. (“If you’re the leading man, I think you need to make a statement by keeping the atmosphere bright and cheerful,” Langella wrote in his column.)

One scene involved a discussion about a character who had gone into the bar. “Frank added while blocking, ‘And then she took all her clothes and fucked the whole bar in front of the whole crew.’ Nobody laughed. It wasn’t a joke setting it up, it was just a thing he said,” an eyewitness told Deadline.

Langella also reportedly inquired about the body makeup applied to an actor playing a badly burned character and asked the person if the makeup extended to his genitals; if the fire had “burned your tail”? “It was grossly inappropriate,” said a source.

Then there was a crude sex joke Langella allegedly told multiple times in front of crew members and staff about the elderly at a nursing home, where a guy is leaving a friend because she has Parkinson’s disease and her hand trembles when holding his penis, multiple sources said Meeting.

Also, “he asked the cast members about their sexual experiences,” a source on the production told Deadline. Adding another, “He spoke vividly to many people about his own sex history, even as they were trying to get out of those conversations.”

People who have known Langella for a long time aren’t particularly surprised, pointing to the actor’s 2012 memoir fallen names, which is full of tales of sexual escapades and dirty jokes. That New York Times called the book “satisfyingly scandalous” in his review titled Cheerful Debauchery.

I hear them The Fall of the House of Usher Producers and Netflix got involved early on, urging Langella to change his behavior. The actor alluded to warnings from the series’ producers in his column. He wrote:

“You can’t do that, Frank,” our producer said. “You can’t joke. You can’t give compliments. You can’t touch. It’s a new order.”

While Langella agreed to make adjustments, he also accused those who tried to correct him of “being too uptight and waking up,” a source from the show said. Langella echoed the sense of “abandonment culture” in his column, in which he questioned Netflix’s due process and insisted he was not heard prior to his termination.

In addition to sexually charged and explicit statements, the use of a Racially insensitive “comments and jokes” by Langella were also under Netflix investigation, multiple sources told Deadline.

As for the allegations Langella referred to in his column, “He would hug me or touch my shoulder,” there were three allegations of inappropriate touching in a performance, including the one that led to the investigation, multiple people from the show appointment. “They weren’t necessarily sex scenes, but they were intimate in their own way; Some were intimate and familial,” a source said. Another added, “Actors would sometimes request that additional people be on set with them if they were to share a scene with him, including people requesting an intimacy coordinator even when a scene didn’t seem too intimate; There was a sense of distrust and violation of boundaries.”

In his column, Langella called the common practice of intimacy coordinators painstakingly choreographing love scenes “absurd!” and claimed that “it undermines instinct and spontaneity.”

In another incident, “there was at least one instance of non-sexual physical contact with a makeup artist, where he slapped her out of the way, which was very upsetting,” an insider told Deadline. Other sources implied that Langella had repeatedly asked to stop special effects work on him, eventually pointing to the makeup artist trying to protect himself. Anyone who has read the Edgar Allan Poe short story on which the Netflix series is based knows that the character Langella played, Roderick Usher, has a specific look that requires heavy makeup.

As Netflix’s investigation continued with new incidents and witnesses emerging, tension mounted as cast and crew felt nothing would come of it, Deadline was told. When Langella was fired, “there was a deep relief that bordered on jubilation among the cast and crew,” said a source from the show.

The Fall of the House of Usher is currently in production for a possible 2023 premiere on Netflix.

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