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The Wire creator says actor’s set safety claims ‘contradict’ show’s ‘standard procedure’

David Simon expressed concern about claim that production team failed to thoroughly clean location shoots

Kevin E G Perry
Tuesday 02 April 2024 19:12
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The Wire - trailer

The Wire creatorDavid Simon has expressed concern about claims by actor Andre Royo, who played Bubbles in the acclaimed HBO crime series, that locations in Baltimore were dangerous for actors.

Simon, 64, was replying to a resurfaced quote on social media from Royo’s 2014 interview on Marc Maron’s WTF Podcast.

Royo, 55, told Maron: “You’re in Baltimore on location, there was no set. They’d rip open a row house and be like ‘okay…go in.’ I did one scene where I’m crawling on a roof and I got stuck with a needle. They’re like, ‘Can you finish the scene?’”

Writing on X/Twitter, Simon said: “I don’t want to contradict Andre, but this should have been a big, big deal and as a producer I should have heard about it and responded.

“Locations/art/set dressing people do not randomly ‘rip open’ locations. Sets to be cleaned before actors arrive. Trash placed is safe set [decoration].”

In the comments, Simon further explained: “I’m simply concerned that Andre’s remembrance here contradicts what was our standard procedure on all locations. The people who worked locations, art and set [decoration] for us are professionals. We did not assign actors to work on unvetted, unmonitored locations.”

David Simon (left) and 'The Wire’ actor Andre Royo (Getty)

He went on to clarify that while The Wire did use vacant rowhouses in Baltimore, they should have been thoroughly prepared for actors. “Once a location was secure it would be cleaned and then redressed with safe set [decoration],” he wrote. “Our process was consistent and professional. I would have been extremely concerned to learn that an actor was injured in such a fashion.”

When asked who directed the episode in question, Simon added: “Doesn’t matter to me now except to say again that it would be very bad for an actor to be harmed in such a way while shooting a scene. But it would be outrageous to spontaneously enter unvetted, unscouted and uncleaned locations and utilize such for filming. That is all.”

The Independent has approached Royo for comment.

Simon is an outspoken presence on X/Twitter. Last week, he hit out at conspiracy theories related to the collapse of Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge.

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Many questions remain about the collision which caused the collapse – with experts saying it may be too early to say exactly what happened – but there are many, including Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, who are sharing the unfounded suggestion that the accident was a terrorist attack.

Simon, a former Baltimore Sun journalist, angrily tackled these viewpoints directly on social media.

In response to Greene’s post, which asked, “Is this an intentional attack or an accident?”, Simon called the politician “a complete sub-moronic pratfall of a human being”.

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