Frank Langella says he has been "canceled" after he was fired from Netflix's The Fall of the House of Usher series. The Oscar-nominated veteran actor was the subject of a misconduct investigation last month because he allegedly made an inappropriate joke and touched a female co-star. His role was recast, with The Resident star Bruce Greenwood stepping in.
The Frost/Nixon star was cast as Roderick Usher in the eight-episode Netflix series by The Haunting of Hill House filmmaker Mike Flanagan. On April 12, sources told TMZ Langella was the subject of a misconduct investigation after he touched a female co-star's leg and jokingly asked her, "Did you like that?" The following day, sources told Deadline he was fired and scenes with Langella would be filmed again with a new actor. Greenwood, who worked with Flanagan on Gerald's Game and Doctor Sleep, was cast on April 29.
Langella told his side of the story in an essay for Deadline. According to him, the alleged incident with his female co-star happened on March 25 when he was filming a love scene. They were both fully clothed. After the director called cut, the actress said he touched her leg, which was "not in the blocking." She stormed off the set, with the director and the intimacy coordinator following, Langella wrote. "I attempted to follow but was asked to 'give her some space,'" Langella wrote. "I waited for approximately one hour, and was then told she was not returning to set and we were wrapped."
A week after the investigation began, Netflix's human resources spoke with Langella. The investigator asked him about his disagreements with the intimacy coordinator, which he corroborated. He still disagrees with their suggestions on acting in the love scene. "Legislating the placement of hands, to my mind, is ludicrous. It undermines instinct and spontaneity," Langella wrote. The human resources investigator suggested Langella not speak with the actress, but he never intended to. "Intention is not our concern. Netflix deals only with impact," the investigator told him, Langella wrote.
"When you are the leading actor, it requires, in my opinion, that you set an example by keeping the atmosphere light and friendly," Langella continued. "Nevertheless, these were some of the allegations: 1. 'He told an off-color joke.' 2. 'Sometimes he called me 'baby' or 'honey.'' 3. 'He'd give me a hug or touch my shoulder.'" A producer told Langella he can do none of those things. "You can't joke. You can't compliment. You can't touch. It's a new order," the producer told him, he wrote.
Langella also claimed parts of TMZ's reporting were a "total lie." He noted there was a version of TMZ's reporting that claimed he was fired for "fondling" the young actress, whose name was deleted when the article was edited. The day the TMZ report was published, Langella was fired.
The actor said Netflix never gave him a hearing and denied his requests to meet with the actress. The producers and director stopped answering his emails and phone calls, and a press release announcing his firing was sent out a half-hour later, Langella wrote. He and his representatives were "given no opportunity to comment or collaborate on the narrative," he wrote.
"I cannot speak to the intentions of my accuser or Netflix, but the impact on me has been incalculable. I lost a thrilling part, the chance at future earnings, and perhaps face a stretch of unemployment. Netflix terminated me after three months of work with only three weeks left to shoot, and I have as yet to be fully remunerated for my services. Most importantly, my reputation has been tarnished," Langella continued. "These indignities are, to my mind, the real definition of unacceptable behavior."
At the end of his essay, Langella took aim at "cancel culture," calling it the "antithesis" of democracy. "It limits our ability to listen, meditate, and exchange opposing views. Most tragically, it annihilates moral judgment," he concluded. "This is not fair. This is not just. This is not American." Netflix has not responded to Langella's claims yet.0comments