EXCLUSIVE UPDATED with more information: Filming on HBO’s five-part Watergate limited series The White House Plumbers, starring Woody Harrelson and Justin Theroux, has been suspended over an on-set incident this week that have triggered an investigation.
“HBO has received reports of alleged unprofessional behavior on the set of White House Plumbers,” the network said in a statement to Deadline. “We take very seriously our responsibility to ensure a respectful work environment on all our productions, and we are investigating the matter fully.”
The network is not commenting further. According to sources, there was an on-set altercation on Wednesday, Aug. 4, involving series director/executive producer David Mandel and a member of the prop department, which led to the prop department walking off the set in protest. Mandel’s outburst was captured on audio recording, which Deadline has reviewed. In it, Mandel is heard using the F-word and threatening the prop master that he will never work again.
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I hear the production halt (with no reason provided) was revealed in a call sheet sent out Thursday night. The document included a note with contacts for anyone to report bullying on set, according to sources who indicated that this week’s incident may not have been isolated.
I hear production has been currently suspended for today, Friday, Aug. 6. It is unclear yet when it will resume as HBO is investigating. The series is believed to be about midway through filming in New York State.
The development comes amid a new Covid surge, driven by the highly contagious Delta strain, which has put extra pressure on productions to keep sets safe from outbreaks, creating additional stress and sometimes tensions.
Created and written by Alex Gregory, Peter Huyck and directed by Mandel, White House Plumbers is based part on public records and the book Integrity by Egil “Bud” Krogh and Matthew Krogh. It tells the true story of how Nixon’s own political saboteurs and Watergate masterminds, E. Howard Hunt (Harrelson) and G. Gordon Liddy (Theroux), accidentally toppled the presidency they zealously were trying to protect.
Harrelson and Theroux executive produce White House Plumbers with Gregory, Huyck and Mandel; alongside Ruben Fleischer and David Bernad for The District; and Frank Rich. Paul Lee, Nne Ebong and Mark Roybal executive produce for wiip, and Len Amato for Crash&Salvage. Gregg Fienberg also executive produces. The limited series is a co-production between HBO and wiip.
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