Ousted “Fall of the House of Usher” actor Frank Langella has more than a few choice words for Netflix.
Langella was axed from the upcoming show following allegations of sexual misconduct levied against the four-time Tony Award-winner.
Responding to Netflix, which chose to part ways with Langella after an investigation into claims of “unacceptable behavior” on set, Langella penned an open letter Thursday on Deadline decrying his forced departure.
“I have been canceled. Just like that,” the 84-year-old thespian began in a lengthy statement.
“In the increasing madness that currently pervades our industry, I could not have imagined that the words collateral damage would fall upon my shoulders. They have brought with them a weight I had not expected to bear in the closing decades of my career. And along with it has come an unanticipated sense of grave danger,” he continued.
The “madness” to which he’s referring is not international conflict or a deadly pandemic — but apparently “cancel culture,” which he labeled “the antithesis of democracy.”
Langella wrote that the “glorious role” — one he thought would be his “last hurrah,” as Roderick Usher in Edgar Allan Poe’s classic, was taken away from him “by Netflix for what they determined to be unacceptable behavior on set.” The controversy prompted the “Frost/Nixon” actor to hire “crisis managers” and legal experts to be “professionally sympathetic at $800 per hour” — all of whom instructed him: “Apologize. Apologize. Apologize.”
He goes on to recount the alleged misconduct.
“On March 25 of this year, I was performing a love scene with the actress playing my young wife. Both of us were fully clothed. 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.’ She then turned and walked off the set, followed by the director and the intimacy coordinator. I attempted to follow, but was asked to ‘give her some space.’ I waited for approximately one hour, and was then told she was not returning to set and we were wrapped,” Langella explained.
By his own admission, according to the piece, Langella ignored instruction by the set’s intimacy coordinator regarding where he should place his hands on his co-star during the scene — instruction he calls “absurd.”
“It was a love scene on camera. Legislating the placement of hands, to my mind, is ludicrous. It undermines instinct and spontaneity,” he argued.
A representative from human resources reportedly instructed Langella to refrain from trying to contact “the young lady,” the intimacy coordinator or anyone else at Netflix, telling him they “don’t want to risk retaliation,” he claimed.
Begging that they understand his hand misplacement wasn’t his “intention,” the rep reportedly said: “Intention is not our concern. Netflix deals only with impact.”
The Oscar-nominated actor said that he hoped his next role would be “his last hurrah” — before being fired for alleged inappropriate behavior.Evan Agostini/Invision/
Langella then prefaced the allegations by characterizing his on-set demeanor as “light and friendly.”
“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,’ ” he wrote.
But a producer reportedly told Langella he “cannot do that.”
“You can’t joke. You can’t compliment. You can’t touch. It’s a new order,” Langella said he was instructed.
The “Diary of a Mad Housewife” star pivoted his message to call the media’s initial portrayal of events “demonstrably false … a total lie.” According to Langella’s Deadline story, a number of details in TMZ’s initial report on the incident last month were removed or otherwise “corrected” on the site, reportedly including the removal of the name of the actress in question.
By April 14, Langella was “fired,” without “a hearing,” he contended, adding that his request for a “one-on-one” with his accuser “was denied,” and directors and producers “stopped answering” his messages.
A full press release and notice to cast and crew was sent out “within 30 minutes” of Langella’s expulsion, he claimed.
The “impact” it has on his career is “incalculable,” he insisted.
“I lost a thrilling part, the chance at future earnings, and perhaps face a stretch of unemployment,” he lamented — adding that he’s also “yet to be fully remunerated” for the three months of shooting he’d already completed.
“Most importantly, my reputation has been tarnished,” Langella asserted.
“These indignities are, to my mind, the real definition of unacceptable behavior,” Langella continued. “Cancel culture is the antithesis of democracy. It inhibits conversation and debate. It limits our ability to listen, mediate, and exchange opposing views. Most tragically, it annihilates moral judgment.”
In conclusion, he declared: “This is not fair. This is not just. This is not American.”
Late last month, series creator Mike Flanagan (“The Haunting of Hill House”) announced that Langella was replaced by “Star Trek” film actor and “dear friend” Bruce Greenwood.
The eight-episode miniseries, the release date of which has not yet been announced, will also see appearances by Mark Hamill, Carla Gugino (“Gerald’s Game”), Mary McDonnell (“Major Crimes”), Carl Lumbly (“Cagney & Lacey”), Henry Thomas (“E.T.”), Samantha Sloyan (“Midnight Mass”), Zach Gilford (“Friday Night Lights”), Katie Parker (“Absentia”), Michael Trucco (“Battlestar Galactica”), Robert Longstreet (“Septien”) and Annabeth Gish (“The X-Files”).