A spokesperson for the Baltimore Police Department said the crew was filming around 4 PM in the downtown area Friday afternoon when several people approached producers. These individuals threatened to come back and shoot someone if the production crew kept filming there. The only way to avoid violence, they said, was by paying a sum of $50,000.
Local news outlet The Baltimore Banner identified the individuals as “drug dealers” threatening extortion from the crew. Producers refused to pay the money, which led to the entire production being shut down until they could find a safer location. Other outlets did not speculate on who the individuals making threats were.
The production company Endeavor Content released a statement about the incident.
“Friday afternoon, on the Baltimore set of our production ‘Lady in the Lake,’ prior to the arrival of the cast and crew, per their call time, a driver on our production crew was confronted by two men, one of whom brandished a gun directed at our driver, and then they fled the location. We are working with the Baltimore Police Department as the investigation is ongoing.”
“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,” they continued. “Production will resume with increased security measures going forward.”
“It has been a privilege filming ‘Lady in the Lake’ in Baltimore, working with its vibrant community across many areas,” it said. “Our thanks and appreciation to the City of Baltimore, Mayor Brandon M. Scott, the Baltimore Film Office, Maryland Film Office and the Baltimore Police Department for their incredible support as we continue production in the great City of Baltimore and surrounding communities.”
“Lady in the Lake” is based on the book of the same name. The Apple TV+ series stars Academy Award winner Natalie Portman and has been filming in Baltimore for several months.
Per the website description, the series takes place in 1960s Baltimore.
There, “an unsolved murder pushes housewife and mother Maddie Schwartz (Portman) to reinvent her life as an investigative journalist and sets her on a collision course with Cleo Sherwood (Lupita Nyong’o), a hard-working woman juggling motherhood, many jobs and a passionate commitment to advancing Baltimore’s Black progressive agenda.”