Production of Natalie Portman’s upcoming Apple TV+ series “Lady in the Lake” was forced to relocate Friday when an unidentified group of Baltimore locals apparently threatened to shoot someone, according to police.
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 for production to continue on the 200 block of Park Avenue downtown.
Baltimore Police Department spokesperson James Moses told the outlet producers declined to pay up and decided to move the shoot elsewhere instead.
In a later statement to the Los Angeles Times on Sunday, police said the locals threatened producers, telling them they would “allow the production to continue” if they were paid but would “come back later this evening [and] shoot someone” if filming continued on the 200 block.
Police spokesperson Chakia Fennoy told the LA Times “leaders of the production decided to err on the side of caution and reschedule the shoot after they found another location.”
However, the production company, Endeavor Content, issued a statement to the LA Times with conflicting details of the incident. The company said no cast, crew or producers were 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 on our production crew was confronted by two men, one of whom brandished a gun directed at our driver, and then fled the location,” Endeavor Content told the newspaper.
Local WBAL-TV 11 reporter David Collins tweeted Monday that “City Police are investigating possible discrepancies in the extortion complaint.”
“We are working with the Baltimore Police Department as the investigation is ongoing,” Endeavor Content’s statement said. “The safety and security of our crew, cast and all who work across our productions is our highest priority, and we are thankful no one was injured.”
The series, adapted from a bestselling Laura Lippman novel, will star Portman as a Baltimore housewife investigating a local murder. The Maryland Economic Development Association confirmed in April the series had started filming in the state and would continue until October.
“We are excited that Maryland will serve as the backdrop for the television adaptation of this New York Times bestseller,” Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said in April. “This type of series generates a positive impact through job creation and revenue for the local businesses 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 going forward,” the company said. “It has been a privilege filming Lady in the Lake in Baltimore, working with its vibrant community across many areas.”