Christopher Plummer replaces Kevin Spacey as J. Paul Getty in a new TV spot and publicity still from director Ridley Scott's All the Money in the World. The historical drama recounts the real life 1973 kidnapping of then 81-year old billionaire Getty's 16 year old grandson, John Paul Getty III (played by Charlie Plummer, no relation to Christopher). The film is currently undergoing rapid reshoots in order to fully incorporate Christopher Plummer into the role that was previously occupied by Spacey, and still make the awards season friendly December release date that Sony had previously scheduled for the movie.
The fallout from Spacey's sexual abuse scandal - one of several to rock Hollywood since mega-producer Harvey Weinstein was publicly revealed as being a sexual predator in October - has been pretty swift. First, Spacey was fired from Netflix's House of Cards TV series and all of his developing projects with the streaming service were dropped. Meanwhile, Scott was quick to announce his own intention to reshoot Spacey's All the Money in the World scenes with Plummer, just a few days after Sony confirmed that it was shelving plans to mount an Oscar campaign for Spacey's performance in the film. Since then, Scott and his production team have kept their heads down, in order to carry out said reshoots as quickly and smoothly as possible.
Sony has now released the first official trailer for All the Money in the World that features Plummer in the role of the aging Getty senior, which you can watch in the space above. EW has also debuted the first official image of Plummer in the movie, as part of the site's larger visit to the All the Money in the World's set during reshoots. Michelle Williams, who costars in the film as Gail Harris - John Paul Getty III's mother - spoke with EW abut the reshoots, saying she was more than happy to be participating in them:
“I’m so very proud to be a part of this - we’re all here for Ridley. When this idea was hatched, I immediately started to feel better. This doesn’t do anything to ease the suffering of people who were all too personally affected by Kevin Spacey, but it is our little act of trying to right a wrong. And it sends a message to predators - you can’t get away with this anymore. Something will be done.”
Scott, for his part, informed EW that when it came to his decision to recast Plummer in Spacey's role “There’s no time for pondering. Sometimes you’ve got to lay down the law. You have to!” He also explained why he is confident in his ability to make the previously-set December theatrical release date for All the Money in the World in spite of the last-minute reshoots:
Because I know I can deliver. [Laughs] I move like lightning. I’m already two scenes ahead. It’s simple! If you know what you’re doing, you don’t need 19 takes. You do one for the actor, one for me. It’s all planned out. When you storyboard, you’ve already pre-filmed the movie in your head - the wide shots, close shots, establishing shots. You’ve gotten some of your weird ideas when you’re quietly sitting, storyboarding by yourself. After a while you learn to trust and listen to your intuition. And I listen to mine. I trust it.
Indeed, Scott is known for being an efficient director - with All the Money in the World being his second directorial effort in 2017 after Alien: Covenant - and having navigated similarly intimidating post-production challenges in the past. Most famously, actor Oliver Reed died during the filming of Gladiator, leaving it to Scott and his production team to complete his scenes in the movie via digital trickery. Scott, for his part, told EW that the All the Money in the World reshoots are "less of a challenge" by comparison.
However, as noted by Williams, the situation here also sends an important message: that predatory behavior and/or other forms of misconduct will not and should not be tolerated, by anyone and in any workplace, no matter the cost. That not only helps to set the precedent for future situations like the one with Spacey, but also illustrates why other studios and filmmakers have no excuse for not taking similar steps to address their actors' real life misbehavior. (See also why Warner Bros. continues to be heavily criticized for not dropping Johnny Depp from the Fantastic Beasts franchise, in the wake of his spousal abuse scandal.)
On a different, but related note, the casting of Plummer also means that All the Money in the World will now feature an actual octogenarian in the role of the 81-year old Getty and not an actor wearing prosthetics, as part of an awards season bid. While that's very much a secondary concern to the larger issues that have been raised here, that sort of commitment to authenticity shouldn't be overlooked either.
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