What is Disney going to do about Armie Hammer?
The new trailer for the upcoming 'Death on the Nile' awkwardly erases nearly all traces of the disgraced actor, but he's still one of its leads.
Armie Hammer was meant to be one of the A-list stars of Disney’s upcoming blockbuster Death on the Nile, but you wouldn’t know it from the trailer. In the latest look at the film, an adaptation of the Agatha Christie novel and a movie sequel to the highly successful Murder on the Orient Express, Hammer, who has been accused of rape and sexual assault by multiple women, appears only in brief glimpses, despite the disgraced actor serving as one of the primary leads (Hammer appears in the forefront of a large ensemble cast in the film’s newly released poster).
“You are mad!” Hammer says in the only bit of the trailer that features his voice, a clip that appears to be cut conspicuously short. Otherwise, nearly all traces of the actor are erased, despite the fact that co-star Gal Gadot, whose affair with Hammer’s character seems to serve as a central force in the film’s murder mystery plot, is fully spotlit throughout the new trailer. The edit is especially glaring considering how prominent Hammer’s presence was in the first trailer for the film released nearly a year and half ago (the film has endured a host of pandemic delays).
The film is the first major work to feature Hammer since multiple women came forward in January of this year with disturbing accounts of his abusive behavior. Since then, the actor has been effectively blacklisted by Hollywood: he was dropped by his talent agency and publicist; exited the upcoming film Shotgun Wedding with Jennifer Lopez; stepped out of roles in the upcoming television shows The Offer and Gaslit and the Broadway play The Minutes; and was ousted from the film The Billion Dollar Spy.
Yet, after Death on the Nile has weathered a nearly two-year release delay due to the pandemic — the film was originally slated to release in December 2019, far before allegations against Hammer surfaced — Disney is moving ahead with the film despite Hammer’s controversy likely serving as an unavoidable shadow. The question of how much of Hammer will actually appear in the film itself remains a question — despite the trailer’s best attempts, it’s already reported that his character is integral enough to be nearly considered “the film’s male lead,” making his erasure via edits from the film seem practically impossible.
There was the possibility of recasting and reshooting his role — in the way Kevin Spacey was replaced by Christopher Plummer in All the Money in the World following a wave of assault allegations against Spacey — but Disney apparently never considered it as a legitimate route due to costs and logistical concerns. Regardless, the movie is still setting its sights for a blockbuster rollout, though it will likely lead to some awkward conversations for its cast during its upcoming press rounds. At the very least, for audiences, it will likely be the last remnant of Hammer on-screen before he fades into oblivion.