Actor Tom Sizemore was told to leave a Utah film set in 2003 after an 11-year-old actress told her mother that he had touched her genitals, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. Months later, he returned for reshoots in Malibu after her parents declined to press charges. The incident has never been revealed publicly.
When contacted, the now 26-year-old former actress, whom THR is not identifying at her request, declined to address the matter except to note that she's recently hired a lawyer to explore legal action against the actor as well as her parents. Sizemore declined to address the situation. "Our position is 'no comment,'" says his agent Stephen Rice.
THR spoke to a dozen people involved with the production of the film, a crime thriller called Born Killers (shot as Piggy Banks). They confirmed Sizemore was sent home over the alleged incident. According to these cast- and crewmembers, rumors swirled and emotions rose on set over what had allegedly transpired.
Sizemore, notorious for his long rap sheet that includes charges of drug use and battery against women, has not previously been accused of molestation. An actor with a tough-guy image then at the height of his scandal-driven infamy, when the Utah incident occurred he'd recently been convicted of physically abusing and harassing his ex-girlfriend, the former "Hollywood Madam" Heidi Fleiss.
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Sizemore is said to have denied the young actress' claim as soon as he was confronted with it. His management firm Untitled and talent agency CAA quietly dropped him shortly afterward. He's currently repped by the boutique firm Pantheon.
Cast- and crewmembers, inspired by the nascent movement toward industry transparency in the post-Harvey Weinstein era, explain that the incident took place near the end of production on Born Killers (not to be confused with Oliver Stone's earlier Natural Born Killers, which Sizemore also appeared in). It was during a second-unit still portrait session, to capture photos of Sizemore's character with his abandoned wife and daughter. The imagery would serve as a plot device in the $5 million film, which was released by Lionsgate in 2005. The film centers on two immoral brothers on a crime spree. (Sizemore played the dissolute father who raised them.)
The roughly half-hour session required the young actress, who had a small role in the production, to be seated on Sizemore's lap in a holiday tableau. This is when Sizemore allegedly either rubbed his finger against the girl's vagina or inserted it inside. Production manager Cassidy Lunnen recalls that "the girl was so young it was unclear to her and [later] her parents what had actually taken place and if it was intentional or not."
During one setup, which required just the two of them, Robyn Adamson, who portrayed the wife, stood away, near the photographer. She recalls of the girl, who was wearing a flannel nightgown: "At one point her eyes got just huge, like she could've vomited. I was watching her. She soon reintegrated and kept going, although she had trouble taking direction. Later, when I was told about what happened, I knew exactly what it was."
Catrine McGregor, the casting director who hired the young actress, fielded a call from the actress' agent the next day, explaining that the girl had informed her mother that she'd been inappropriately touched. "The mother noticed that her daughter was unusually quiet and told her she was going to take her to this swimming place that was the little girl's favorite thing," says McGregor, a four-decade veteran in the business, who notes that she subsequently filed a complaint with SAG's legal department and advocated for Sizemore's immediate dismissal from the project. (SAG declined to comment.) "When the girl put on her bathing suit, she told her mother that it reminded her of the day before, in an upsetting way — that the bathing suit's contact against her felt like what happened when the man had put his finger inside her," as McGregor understood the events on-set.
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Word spread quickly. "It filtered down to the crew," says Roi Maufas, who worked as a production assistant. "The little girl said what she said and we all thought, 'That fucking sleazebag.' There was never any doubt. He was this guy who was already known for making inappropriate comments, being drunk, being high. We're talking about consistent behavior, just being 'Tom Sizemore' on set every day. Then this happens. Guys reached for hammers. [Producer James R. Rosenthal, who died in 2011], who was livid himself, had to stop a group of us from going to visit Mr. Sizemore to kick the guy's ass."
In interviews, the film's producers Jai Stefan, Michael Manshel and Gus Spoliansky note that they removed Sizemore from set as soon as they heard about the assertion, reviewed the photographs from the portrait session but found them to be inconclusive evidence and sought out the parents to encourage them to engage law enforcement if they felt compelled to do so. Stefan, who along with the others describes being heavily affected by the actress' claim ("I was like, 'Did that just happen on my watch?' I started crying"), recalls the parents "not wanting the little girl being taken off the movie. We said we can remove her, remove him, remove both."
"They did talk to the police but didn't press charges," says Manshel adding: "We also talked to Tom at the time, and told him everything that had been told to us, and he said: 'I've done a lot of awful things, and I'd never do anything with kids.' We considered whether we had some responsibility to him to not pass judgment on him."
Eventually, in need of pick-up shots, they invited Sizemore to Spoliansky's Malibu home a couple of months later for reshoots.
"We had a fiduciary responsibility to complete the film so we decided to go about business as usual — lacking the evidence of what happened that day," says Spoliansky. Still, he's quick to add, "We took the allegation extremely seriously and we were willing to do anything, including dismissing Tom. We just couldn't be police, judge and jury."
McGregor, the first to come forward to THR about the episode, speculates that the girl's parents may not have wanted to compound professional harm with emotional harm, observing that they "didn't want to possibly ruin their daughter's film career."
Sizemore, 55, gained renown in the 1990s for a series of tough-guy supporting roles in primarily action films and dramas, including Point Break, True Romance, Strange Days and Wyatt Earp, leading to his biggest career moments with Saving Private Ryan in 1998 and Black Hawk Down and Pearl Harbor in 2001. (In 2000 he was nominated for a Golden Globe for his acting in the HBO movie Witness Protection.)
After the Born Killers shoot, and in the midst of becoming a father (to twin boys in 2005), Sizemore continued to work steadily, although relegated to smaller roles on less prestigious projects. More recently, though, his career has picked up again, particularly on TV, with notable arcs on USA's Shooter and Showtime's revival of Twin Peaks. In September, he appeared opposite Liam Neeson in Felt, playing an FBI rival of the Deep Throat source in the Watergate drama. At press time, according to IMDb, he's attached to, and frequently listed as starring in, more than three dozen often low-budget and genre independent film projects in some stage of development or production.
Sizemore has long publicly contended with a drug addiction that dates to his teens. (Among other troubles, Bakersfield police charged him with possession of methamphetamine in 2007, and three years later he appeared on Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew.) He also has a history of alleged aggressive behavior toward women, most recently in February, pleading no contest to two misdemeanor charges of domestic abuse for assaulting his girlfriend in July 2016 in downtown L.A. This followed two previous arrests for suspected battery of another woman in 2009 and 2011, and before that his Fleiss conviction in Los Angeles court in August 2003 — the same month that production began on Born Killers. He'd eventually be sentenced to half a year in prison for the Fleiss matter.
"I remember being excited that he went to jail," says Jennie Latham, a second assistant director on the film, "even if it was for something else."