Producer Steps Away From HBO Porn Drama After N.Y. Dermatologist Death

Marc Henry Johnson originally was listed as a producer on David Simon's forthcoming pilot 'The Deuce.'
Mark Von Holden/Getty Images for Girl Behind the Camera
Marc Henry Johnson

One of the producers of HBO's upcoming porn drama, The Deuce, temporarily has stepped away from the project as a result of his involvement in this weekend's mysterious death of a New York dermatologist, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

A source tells THR that Marc Henry Johnson, who originally was credited as a producer on the pilot, has relinquished his duties for the time being while he attends to the case. Johnson, 51, was questioned Monday by investigators in connection with the death of 38-year-old Kiersten Cerveny, a married mother of three who authorities believe overdosed on cocaine.

Cerveny was found unconscious in the vestibule of a Chelsea apartment building Sunday morning. She was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital at 9:12 a.m. NYPD sources told the New York Daily News that her death is consistent with a cocaine overdose and is not being treated as a homicide.

According to reports, Cerveny met with Johnson, a friend, at a Lower East Side bar at around 2 a.m., and they took a cab to Chelsea together sometime between 3:30 and 4 a.m. to see James "Pepsi" Holder, a suspected drug dealer.

Investigators recovered security video showing Johnson and Holder carrying Cerveny into the building's entryway approximately four hours later. Johnson called 911, but left the scene when EMTs arrived. After being questioned Monday, Johnson was released without charges.

Johnson was nominated for an Emmy for his work as a producer on Michael Moore's 1999 TV series The Awful Truth. He has worked primarily as an assistant location manager on projects including The Dukes of Hazzard, The Guardian and HBO's Treme. The latter, like The Deuce, hails from The Wire creator David Simon. HBO ordered the pilot, which examines life in New York City during the '70s and '80s, in the midst of porn and prostitution's heyday in Manhattan, in August. Other executive producers include George Pelecanos, Nina Kostroff-Noble, Richard Price and Michelle MacLaren, who will direct the pilot. James Franco will exec produce and star, along with Maggie Gyllenhaal.

According to IMDb, Johnson's other forthcoming projects include a TV biopic about Sammy Davis Jr., which Johnson is set to produce and direct.

HBO declined to comment.