The outcry triggered by the Frank Langella Fall of the House of Usher incident — i.e., getting whacked for mild crossing-the-line offenses — boils down to an issue of degree. How to deal with questionable on-set behavior that isn’t that bad within the greater scheme of things?

Nobody wants silence or indifference if an actress believes she’s been violated to some degree, even if the violation was a matter of small potatoes. If an actor does something that most of us would regard as vaguely uncool while performing a scene, appropriate measures should ensue. The vague offender should be taken aside and told in respectful but direct terms to stop being vaguely uncool or overly familiar or whatever the complaint is about. If an actor is any kind of pro they’ll listen and acknowledge and adapt.

But when is it appropriate for an actress with a legit complaint to “go nuclear” over a relatively minor transgression? That’s what Langella’s costar allegedly did — she “walked off the set” and didn’t return, according to Langella’s account.

This is also what Keke Palmer allegedly did when costar Bill Murray pulled her pigtail (or something in that general nyuk-nyuk, horsing-around realm) on the set of Being Mortal. Palmer was apparently inconsolable and is possibly still feeling that way. How else to interpret the fact that Being Mortal was shut down two weeks ago (on 4.20.22) and yet producers still haven’t announced that the film is resuming production? How many weeks of fretting does an actress need to recover from on-set joshing around when the josher has solemnly apologized?

Under these circumstances was “going nuclear” really necessary? Any professional actor will confirm that there’s a certain take-it-as-it-comes, turn-the-other-cheek, rough-and-tumble quality that comes with working with other thesps under the usual professional pressures. Something unexpected or unwelcome might occasionally happen, but sometimes it’s the better part of wisdom to just roll with that shit, as in water off a duck’s ass.

As we speak the presumption is that Langella may now be regarded as a risky hire (if not a cautionary tale by way of persona non grata) because of what “happened.”

But ask yourself this: If you were a producer would you want to hire an actress who has gone nuclear over her leg being touched or being hugged or having heard an off-color joke of some kind? Put another way, if you were a producer could you imagine saying to your casting colleagues, “You know that interesting actress whose complaint led to a temporary shutdown of a Netflix show and re-casting a major role and re-shooting weeks’ worth of material? I really want to hire her for my next film. She just has a certain quality that is perfect for a certain character. What do you guys think?”

And what about the idea of an actor submitting to the reality of a character and going with that, at least as far as a scene in question is concerned? The offended actress was playing the “young wife” of Langella’s Roderick Usher character, right? Let’s imagine what Langella and the actress in question were professionally obliged to imagine on that fateful day (3.25.22) — that Usher and his wife are real people involved in an actual marriage, and involved in some sort of physically intimate moment.

If you were Rodrick Usher’s wife would you freak out if your husband touched your leg or gave you a hug or said something a little bit rude or uncalled for? All marriages encounter rough patches and dicey situations, and a certain flexibility or tolerance is necessary to weather them.