“I have loved every single second of working on The Minutes with the family I made from Steppenwolf,” Hammer said in a statement (via Variety). “But right now I need to focus on myself and my health for the sake of my family. Consequently, I will not be returning to Broadway with the production.”
Tracy Letts’ The Minutes was scheduled to premiere at the Cort Theatre in March 2020 before the Covid-19 pandemic shut down Broadway for the year. With tentative plans to reopen Broadway later this year, Hammer and The Minutes revealed that when the show does reach the stage, Hammer will not be part of the cast. No replacement has been announced.
“Armie remains a valued colleague to all of us who have worked with him onstage and offstage on The Minutes. We wish only the best for him and respect his decision,” The Minutes producers said in a statement.
According to Variety, The Minutes was Hammer’s lone future project after the actor dropped out of numerous other TV shows and movies — including a TV series about the making of The Godfather and the Jennifer Lopez-starring romcom Shotgun Wedding — following the social media allegations against him, with the actor accused of sexual misconduct by several women; the Los Angeles Police Department is also investigating Hammer over an “alleged sexual assault” that occurred in April 2017.
In March, a woman — “Effie,” who also spurred the LAPD investigation — held a press conference and accused the actor of “violently” raping and assaulting her. Hammer, through his lawyer, denied the “vicious and spurious” allegations, as well as the other accusations that appeared on social media in unverified text messages that detailed lurid sexual fantasies, including acts of cannibalism.
“From day one, Mr. Hammer has maintained that all of his interactions with [Effie] — and every other sexual partner of his for that matter — have been completely consensual, discussed and agreed upon in advance, and mutually participatory,” Hammer’s lawyer Andrew Brettler said.
“It was never Mr. Hammer’s intention to embarrass or expose [Effie]’s fetishes or kinky sexual desires, but she has now escalated this matter to another level by hiring a civil lawyer to host a public press conference. With the truth on his side, Mr. Hammer welcomes the opportunity to set the record straight… [Effie]’s attention seeking and ill-advised legal bid will only make it more difficult for real victims of sexual violence to get the justice they deserve.”
Variety notes that Hammer — who also dropped out of two more projects this past week, the film Billion Dollar Spy and the Watergate series Gaslit — will still appear in Disney’s Death on the Nile, which filmed well before the sexual abuse claims but had its planned 2020 theatrical release postponed due to the pandemic; that film is currently scheduled for release in 2022.