Natalie Portman Series Shuts Down After Shooting Threat And Ransom Demand

A new Apple TV+ series starring Natalie Portman has shut down over violent threats made during a shoot in Baltimore.

By Nathan Kamal | Published

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An upcoming Apple TV+ series starring Natalie Portman has shut down after violent threats were made to the production. Per NBC News, the new show Lady in the Lake, which has been filming in Baltimore since April, halted after a group of “locals” threatened producers. Apparently, these unidentified locals contacted producers of the Natalie Portman show during filming and ordered the production to shut down. Additionally, they attempted to extort $50,000 from the production. If either of these did not happen, they threatened to return and shoot someone. As of right now, producers have decided “err on the side of caution” and hold off on further production of Lady in the Lake.

A spokesman for the Baltimore Police Department has said that producers for the Natalie Portman show refused to pay the $50,000 that was demanded, and that production has been rescheduled for another area. Apple TV+ has not yet made a public statement about the incident, nor has Natalie Portman herself; it is not known whether Portman was present for the specific film scene that was being shot. It seems most likely that production of the show will continue in another area and may even relocate from Baltimore. The series was first greenlit in March of 2021, so the sheer amount of planning that has gone into it probably makes it unfeasible for Apple TV+ to not continue shooting it. 

Lady in the Lake is based on a popular novel of the same name by prolific mystery author Laura Lippman. Both the book and series are set in 1960s Baltimore, where a white housewife (Natalie Portman) becomes obsessed with a pair of unsolved murders, while an activist in the local black community works to advance their rights. The film was to star Lupita Nyong’o alongside Natalie Portman, but Nyong’o withdrew from the production without explanation earlier this year and was replaced by Obi-Wan Kenobi star Moses Ingram. Mike Epps, Noah Jupe, Byron Bowers, Josiah Cross, and Pruitt Taylor Vince will all also co-star. The show is being co-written by Dre Ryan and Alma Har’el, the latter of whom will direct all eight episodes of the series.

While Natalie Portman has been a film star since she was a child, Lady in the Lake will be her first major television starring role. She has appeared in a number of programs like SesameStreet and Saturday Night Live as herself, and guest roles on The Simpsons and Angie Tribeca, but Natalie Portman now seems ready to make the leap into television. The rapid expansion of streaming content and decreasing stigma of prestige limited series has drawn many film stars to television, so there is no surprise that Natalie Portman is the latest. Her most recent film role was Thor: Love and Thunder, in which she reprised her Marvel Cinematic Universe role of Jane Foster and took on the power of Thor as a new superhero. Lady in the Lake does not have an announced premiere date.