In Maureen Ryan’s Burn It Down, crew, writers and actor Orlando Jones discuss disparate treatment between stars Nichole Beharie and Tom Mison.
The “grueling” conditions created on the set of Fox’s Sleepy Hollow have resurfaced as the new book Burn It Down: Power, Complicity, and a Call for Change in Hollywood continues to pull back the curtains on some of Hollywood’s most toxic show sets.
According to a new exposé from Maureen Ryan, there was distinctive contrast in treatment between the show’s black female lead, portrayed by actress Nicole Beharie and white male lead, played by Tom Mison, who played detective Abbie Mills and Ichabod Crane, respectively.
The co-stars apparently “did not want to have a whole lot to do with each other,” which also resulted Mison’s character routinely “courtly” bowing to his castmate because they refused to embrace each other.
Behaire reportedly also found herself at odds with the show’s co-creator and director, Len Wiseman. The book claimed that actress Lyndie Greenwood, who ultimately portrayed Beharie’s sister, Jenny Mills, was brought in as a possible replacement while filming the pilot.
According to unidentified sources who spoke to Ryan, executives alleged to not having “a good experience with Nicole,” and carried on that narrative to other important people in the industry who had not yet work with the American Violet star.
The source and others like Beharie’s co-star Orlando Jones described it as a “double standard.” They continued, “Especially if that person is a woman and a woman of color — those are two groups that already have challenges, to begin with.” The insider said, “It created a very us-against-her environment.”
While Mison was said to have “his own set of issues,” Behaire wasn’t known to be troublesome, despite always prefacing her statements with “I’m not trying to be difficult.”
In a 2020 interview with the Los Angeles Times, Behaire spoke about the alleged disparity in treatment during her time on the show, which ended in 2017. The actress claimed on one occasion both stars fell ill, and while Mison was allowed to return to the UK, Behaire was forced to film an episode solo.