Death on the Nile has faced more stalls than most other star-studded sequels of its caliber — first getting lost in the Fox-Disney reshuffle before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic put a stop to 2020 release plans. But the latest one might the hardest to navigate for the Kenneth Branagh murder mystery film. It’s the problem of star Armie Hammer, who was recently accused of rape and is at the center of an investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department.
Over the last few months, Hammer’s star has publicly imploded as numerous horrifying allegations against him have been made, leading to one woman to publicly accuse him of rape. Hammer dropped out of multiple projects, lost his agent, and is now at the center of an LAPD sex crimes investigation that has opened up over the rape allegation. It’s a fall from grace that might have been predicted years ago, but still comes at an inopportune time for Disney, which was preparing to finally release the long-delayed Death on the Nile, in which Hammer is one of the leading stars. Now, after years on the shelf and six delays, there might never be a good time to release it.
Disney quietly announced that Death on the Nile was getting pushed back to February 11, 2022 last week amid a handful of other release date changes, but a new Variety report suggests that the latest delay for the Agatha Christie adaptation was a stall to help buy time while Disney figured out what to do with the Armie Hammer problem. Disney has no plans to recast Hammer and reshoot his scenes with a new actor, as has been done with previous alleged assaulters, like Kevin Spacey’s replacement with Christopher Plummer in All the Money in the World. Per Variety:
One source familiar with an early cut of Death on the Nile said Hammer’s role is significant to the point of being the film’s male lead. The studio is not currently considering a reshoot or recasting his role, another insider with knowledge of the project said. Reshoots, after all, could cost tens of millions and would be nearly impossible to pull off given the packed schedules of the ensemble, which includes Annette Bening, iconic comedy duo Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders, Game of Thrones star Rose Leslie and Sophie Okonedo.
A “rival studio executive” suggested to Variety that Disney’s only real strategy is to be direct about the issue and say, “Hundreds of people worked on this project, and we’re not scrapping it because of one individual.”
Hammer has denied the allegations against him, and an attorney for Hammer said roughly two weeks ago that the actor “has maintained that all of his interactions … have been completely consensual, discussed and agreed upon in advance, and mutually participatory.”
However, prospects in Hollywood look dim for Hammer, who has already left multiple projects: the rom-com Shotgun Wedding opposite Jennifer Lopez, The Offer series about the making of The Godfather, and the Cold War thriller Billion Dollar Spy. Variety says that he has a small cameo role in Taika Waititi’s Next Goal Wins, which was filmed last year. And this may in the end dash hopes for that long-discussed Call Me By Your Name sequel.
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