Frank Langella has been canceled. But he’s not about to go away quietly. In mid-April, reports began surfacing that the 84-year-old Oscar nominee had been fired from his role in Netflix’s The Fall of the House of Usher over misconduct allegations. The celebrated actor had no immediate comment at the time, but now he’s speaking out via a full op-ed that ran on Deadline.
While Netflix has remained rather tight-lipped about the incident, last Friday it was announced that Bruce Greenwood had been hired to replace Langella on the eight-episode limited series, which was already halfway done filming. On Thursday, Langella issued his own explanation of the series of events that preceded his firing:
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.
Not long after, an investigation began. Approximately one week later, Human Resources asked to speak to me by phone. “Before the love scene began on March 25,” said the questioner, “our intimacy coordinator suggested where you both should put your hands. It has been brought to our attention that you said, ‘This is absurd!’” “Yes,” I said, “I did. And I still think so.” It was a love scene on camera. Legislating the placement of hands, to my mind, is ludicrous. It undermines instinct and spontaneity.
According to Langella, he was not given a chance to defend himself or his actions. “I was not given a hearing with Netflix,” the Oscar nominee wrote. “My request to meet one-on-one with the actress was denied. The directors and the producer stopped answering my emails and phone calls. Within 30 minutes of my firing, a letter went out to cast and crew and a full press release was sent immediately. My representatives and I were given no opportunity to comment or collaborate on the narrative.” Which is why Langella wanted to set the record straight on his own terms.
“I cannot speak to the intentions of my accuser or Netflix, but the impact on me has been incalculable,” he wrote. “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.
This is not fair. This is not just. This is not American.”
You can read Langella’s full letter here.