NEW YORK (March 10, 2007) — A movie production company was forced to begin its first day of shooting Saturday without Busta Rhymes after the NYPD raised security concerns.
The Police Department declined to detail its specific concerns about Rhymes, who angered officers last year when he refused to cooperate with the investigation of his bodyguard’s murder. The man was shot during the filming of a music video.
Rhymes is a cast member in “Order of Redemption,” which began shooting in midtown Manhattan. Julianne Cho, associate commissioner with the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre & Broadcasting, confirmed the shooting had started — and that Rhymes was absent.
“The production agreed that Busta Rhymes would not be participating in the scenes shot here after the Police Department raised public safety concerns,” Cho said in a statement.
The crime drama, starring Academy Award nominee Tom Berenger, is shooting scenes in New York City on 14 non-consecutive days into early April. Cho said the production had the necessary permits.
“This is tremendously unfair to Busta, who has been nothing but professional during this project,” director Jeff Celentano said. “This is a bigger loss for the city of New York.”
The 34-year-old rapper, whose real name is Trevor Smith, refused to cooperate with a probe into the February 2006 slaying of Israel Ramirez. No arrests have been made in the shooting outside a Brooklyn recording studio.
Rhymes’ attorney, Scott Leemon, did not return a message left Saturday for comment.
The rap star has had several run-ins with law enforcement in the past year. Police say he’s driven with a suspended license, beaten his former driver in a dispute over money, and talked on a cell phone while driving.
Rhymes’ hits include “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See” and “Dangerous.”