Ed Westwick replaced in Agatha Christie drama following sexual assault claims
The producers of BBC One’s Ordeal By Innocence are taking a page out of Ridley Scott’s playbook.
In the wake of sexual assault claims lodged against star Ed Westwick by three women, the Gossip Girl veteran has been replaced by actor Christian Cooke (Crackle’s The Art of More) in the upcoming drama series. Reshoots on certain scenes are planned to commence later this month.
The network, production company Mammoth Screen, and Agatha Christie Limited jointly announced the news in a press release Friday after Ordeal By Innocence‘s premiere had initially been scrapped. BBC One is handling the international release, while Amazon Studios picked up domestic rights.
First look imagery for Ordeal By Innocence had already been released with cast members Bill Nighy, Anna Chancellor, Matthew Goode, Eleanor Tomlinson, Anthony Boyle, Luke Treadaway, Morven Christie, Crystal Clarke, Ella Purnell, and Alice Eve. Cooke, also known for the Witches of East End, will come on as Mickey Argyll.
As the first of a planned series of projects adapted from Agatha Christie’s works, the story follows the Argyll family when a man suddenly appears with the knowledge that the black sheep of the clan, Jack Argyll, did not kill their tyrannical matriarch like they all thought.
Reps for Westwick and Amazon Studios did not immediately respond to EW’s request for comment. However, the actor has previously denied the claims against him.
In November, actress Kristina Cohen wrote a Facebook post in which she accused Westwick of raping her at his house three years prior. Since then, the LAPD opened an investigation into the claim, while two other women — former actress Aurélie Wynn and creative producer Rachel Eck — came forward with additional accusations.
Scott set the bar for situations like this. The filmmaker recast Christopher Plummer in Kevin Spacey’s role in All the Money in the World after the House of Cards actor had been accused of numerous instances of sexual misconduct. Scott and his cast returned to the film’s set over Thanksgiving to reshoot parts of the film before a December release.
“It is disheartening and sad to me that as a result of two unverified and provably untrue social media claims, there are some in this environment who could ever conclude I have had anything to do with such vile and horrific conduct,” Westwick said in a statement released after the second allegation was made. “I have absolutely not, and I am cooperating with the authorities so that they can clear my name as soon as possible.”
Westwick had also “paused” from filming his series White Gold in November “while he deals with these allegations,” a statement from the BBC read.