After the pack up of Apple TV’s much anticipated series World War II miniseries Masters of the Air, most of the cast and crew parted their ways for their upcoming projects. But a video of the Director Cary Fukunaga was shown where a scene can be seen of the set where unlike others he hung back and began to take photos of two actresses.
According to two production sources, the celebrated director’s focus was not on the scene’s main players, but rather on two of the background actresses — one of whom had recently turned 18 — dressed as prostitutes from the 1940s. Taking pictures of the young women, he egged them on while they posed suggestively, bent against a wall and kneeling on the ground.
One of the sources claims Fukunaga acted under the guise of needing the photos for continuity purposes — a task normally expected to fall on a production’s wardrobe department and not the man at the helm of a 600-plus cast and crew. To the two production sources who watched the 10-minute interaction unfold, Fukunaga crossed a professional line, using his position in ways that felt uncomfortable to those looking on.
It was one of the first red flags, one of the sources claimed, that they observed during Fukunaga’s time directing a handful of episodes of the miniseries, which is being executive-produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg. “That was my first gut check,” the source recalls. “It was way past the line. There’s no sort of argument … that it is OK in any way. It’s an absolute, clear-cut abuse of power.” (In a statement provided through his lawyer, Fukunaga notes that he “takes pictures of actors – men and women, young and old – on his sets all of the time” and, acknowledging he took pictures of these actresses, says that “[t]o imply anything improper about doing so is false and defamatory.”)
The incident was part of a pattern of Fukunaga’s behavior that concerned nearly a dozen production sources after the accusations on the 44-year-old director earlier this month by three women: one who met Fukunaga on the set of a commercial and two sisters who met him on a TV set. (Each of these sources requested anonymity, citing fear of harming their careers and breaching NDAs.)
The filmmaker is one of Hollywood’s youngest major directors, versatile across both film and television. After helming his critically acclaimed 2009 feature Sin Nombre, he was only 32 when he directed his second feature-length film, Jane Eyre, and went on to win an Emmy in 2014 for directing the haunting first season of HBO’s True Detective. Following the success of Netflix’s Beasts of No Nation in 2015, starring Idris Elba, Fukunaga became the first American to direct a James Bond film with last year’s No Time To Die.