Frank Langella has also left a production mid-go, leaving behind a role that also needs to be recast. A couple days ago, TMZ—I know, I know—reported that Langella was being investigated for alleged sexual harassment and inappropriate conduct on set, and Deadline has now confirmed TMZ’s report, and added that Langella has been fired and his role will be recast.
He was starring as the lead of Mike Flanagan’s new horror limited series for Netflix, The Fall of the House Usher, bringing back Flanagan VIPs Carla Gugino, Henry Thomas, Kate Siegel, Zach Gilford, and Rahul Kohli, and adding Langella, Carl Lumbly, Willa Fitzgerald, Mark Hamill, and Mary McDonnell. Langella was portraying the Usher family patriarch, Roderick, and they’re halfway through production and all his scenes will need to be reshot with the new actor.
As I said before, this is a very expensive thing to do. The TMZ report relays incidents of lewd jokes and casual but unwanted touching involving Langella and a female member of the cast, which is the kind of behavior many people will excuse as “harmless”, especially given that Langella is an octogenarian. So, either it’s worse than TMZ is reporting, or Netflix is REALLY not f-cking around with on-set behavior, because their “burning money” era is over and though they uncork the cash tubs for top-tier productions, they’re still pretty scrupulous accountants. It’s just a question of which side of the coin this really is: the “it’s worse than you know” side, or the “we’re not taking ANY chances” side. A lot of people are probably going to call this an overreaction—he’s an old man telling dirty jokes! Lay off!—but once again. Recasting someone mid-production and reshooting all their scenes is very expensive. It’s not a decision made lightly. If there is ANY way around it, you take that route. If this is the way Netflix has gone…it’s probably worse than we know.