Production on Natalie Portman’s upcoming Apple TV+ series “Lady in the Lake” had to move Friday when an unidentified group of Baltimore residents apparently threatened to shoot someone, police said.
Details of the incident remain unclear amid conflicting reports. According to an initial report in The Baltimore Banner on Saturday, police said a group of “drug dealers” demanded $50,000 in weekly protection money to continue production on the 200-block of downtown Park Avenue.
Baltimore Police Department spokesman James Moses said the outlet’s producers refused to pay and decided to move the shoot elsewhere.
In a later statement to the Los Angeles Times on Sunday, police said locals threatened the producers, telling them they would “keep production going” if they were paid, but would “come back later in the evening.” [and] shoot someone” as filming continued on the 200 block.
Police spokesman Chakia Fennoy told the LA Times “production leaders decided to exercise caution and reschedule shooting after finding another location.”
However, the production company, Endeavor Content, has issued a statement to the LA Times with conflicting details about the incident. The company said there were no cast, crew or producers on set at the time.
“Friday afternoon, on the Baltimore set of our production Lady in the Lake, prior to the arrival of the cast and crew… a driver from our production crew was confronted by two men, one of whom was brandishing a gun pointed at our driver, and then fled the location,” Endeavor Content told the newspaper.
“We are working with the Baltimore Police Department while the investigation is ongoing,” the statement from Endeavor Content said. “The safety and security of our crew, cast and everyone who works on our productions is our top priority, and we are thankful no one was injured.”
Based on a Laura Lippman bestseller, the series stars Portman as a Baltimore housewife who investigates a local murder. The Maryland Economic Development Association confirmed in April that the series had begun filming in the state and would continue through October.
“We’re excited that Maryland will serve as the backdrop for the television adaptation of this New York Times bestseller,” Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said in April. “This type of series generates a positive impact by creating jobs and income for the local companies that provide goods and services to film and television productions.”
Endeavor Content said in its statement that filming will continue.
“Production will resume with increased security measures in the future,” the company said. “It was a privilege to film Lady in the Lake in Baltimore, working with the vibrant community in many areas.”