Back in April, Frank Langella was fired from Netflix’s upcoming series The Fall of the House of Usher after an internal investigation determined that he “had been involved in unacceptable conduct on set.” Now, the veteran actor is speaking out about the incident, refuting the charges in a guest column written for Deadline.
“I have been canceled. Just like that,” Langella began his piece, citing an “increasing madness that currently pervades our industry.” The Tony Award-winning actor was set to play Roderick Usher in Mike Flanagan’s adaptation of the Edgar Allan Poe story, and wrote that the fireable offense occurred when he was filming a “fully clothed” love scene with an unnamed actress playing his wife.
“I was sitting on a couch, she was standing in front of me. The director called cut. ‘He touched my leg,’ said the actress. ‘That was not in the blocking.'” The actress then left the set, and an investigation was launched. Langella continued to explain that, in a phone call with human resources, he acknowledged that an intimacy coordinator instructed the actors on where to place their hands, and confirmed that he called the direction “absurd.”
“It was a love scene on camera,” Langella wrote. “Legislating the placement of hands, to my mind, is ludicrous. It undermines instinct and spontaneity.” The actor also acknowledged allegations that he told an “off-color joke” and called people “baby or honey,” and alleged that a producer told him said behaviors were unacceptable in Hollywood’s “new order.”
Langella was fired on April 13th, and Bruce Greenwood was later cast as his replacement. The scenes Langella shot will not appear in the show. The actor wrapped up his guest column by claiming he was not given a hearing by Netflix, was not able to speak with the actress who accused him of misconduct, and was not able to collaborate on the press release announcing his departure. He also claimed to be missing payment for the three months he spent filming the show.
“Cancel culture is the antithesis of democracy,” Langella wrote, before calling his firing “not fair,” “not just,” and “not American.” Of course, not much about our democracy seems to be fair these days.