Police Release Updated Details About Natalie Portman Series “Extortion Threat”

·2 min read

There are new details about the so-called “extortion threat” against Natalie Portman’s upcoming Apple TV+ limited series Lady in the Lake.

When the story first broke Saturday, The Baltimore Banner, quoting police sources, reported that production sources had claimed the show’s “cast and crew” were threatened by a group of Baltimore “drug dealers” on Friday afternoon who brandished a firearm and demanded $50,000 to allow the production to continue filming or that somebody would be shot. The “producers” on set refused to pay.

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By Sunday, that narrative had evolved significantly to claim that two individuals threatened a production driver before the producers, cast and crew had arrived on set. “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,” read a statement by studio Endeavor Content.

Now it seems that corrective needs correcting as well.

Baltimore police have since examined CCTV camera footage and interviewed those involved. In a statement obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, the police say a local street vendor selling clothing was upset he had not been compensated by the production for lost business since he could not operate while the crew was shooting at his location. The individual told detectives he talked with a crew member and a security manager and was awaiting paperwork to receive compensation for lost business. The vendor was also arrested on narcotics charges.

An accompanying police report describes conflicting statements that suggest a group was being disruptive to the production, but that the previously described threats were overstated or inaccurate. The production member who initially reported the incident claimed a person brandished a gun to the workers, but then “retracted his original statement” to say a driver had claimed they saw a gun. “[The brandishing of the gun] was determined to be inaccurate and the victim’s recollection of the incident changed during the investigation,” reads the report. While a member of the security company contracted by the production claimed a local group threatened to “shoot in the air” if they did not receive money, then admitted they did not have firsthand knowledge of the incident.

All that said, detectives “are in the process of interviewing additional individuals and this is still an open and ongoing investigation,” so the details of this incident could shift yet again.

Endeavor Content and Apple TV had no immediate comment.

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