All The Money in the World writer David Scarpa opened up on the involvement of Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins in the Ridley Scott film's major recasting. The director famously removed Kevin Spacey from the movie earlier this year after the disgraced actor faced widespread accusations of sexual misconduct. He replaced Spacey with Christopher Plummer as J. Paul Getty at the last minute, and not only didn't miss the film's December deadline but drew a performance from the actor that is generating awards buzz.
Plummer's role as the famous billionaire, who found himself at the center of his grandson's kidnapping and faced pleas to pay the ransom, was no bit part. Considering the accolades Plummer is already receiving for his performance and the film's strong reviews, Scott's late recasting stands as one of the most impressive filmmaking accomplishments of 2017. But as Scarpa explained, the recasting of Plummer wouldn't have happened in the first place without some help from Jenkins along the way.
The All the Money in the World scribe recounted the Wonder Woman director's involvement in the high-profile recasting in a new interview with THR. The problem the crew faced was keeping the recasting, which would be obvious if it came from Scott himself, a secret from the public. So Jenkins offered help by sending out a casting call under the guise of her own project, the upcoming limited drama series One Day She'll Darken. Here's how Scarpa described the process:
"Ridley's casting agents basically asked if they could send the call out for the part under their production's name. So basically it was, 'Patty Jenkins is looking for a 90-year-old guy.' That was basically how they were able to do it. There was a lot of this sort of … crafty maneuvers in order to make this thing come off."
Plummer quickly came aboard via the disguised casting call, shooting his scenes with the main cast over Thanksgiving weekend. The reshoots reportedly cost over $10 million for Imperative Entertainment. Scott told Screen Rant in a recent interview that he didn't change anything from the first round of filming, but understood that Plummer's scenes would bring a different feel to the character and his interactions with others.
All the Money in the World ended up being pushed back from Dec. 22 to Christmas Day, but the small delay had nothing to do with the reshoots. Scott finished the film in time to screen it for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which rewarded him with a nomination for Best Director and also nominated Plummer and Michelle Williams for her lead performance as Gail Harris. The film is rapidly headed toward "triumph" territory after the success of Plummer's recasting, and has Jenkins to thank for helping make it a reality.
Although the movie and Plummer's performance are garnering positive reactions from critics, it remains to be seen how much the last-minute casting change resonates with viewers or pays off in the long run. Plummer is certainly a great actor and by all accounts did the role justice, but his acclaim could have as much to do with the circumstances surrounding his casting as the performance itself. However, that does not diminish the mere achievement of getting the film out on time in such a uniquely tough situation.
- All the Money in the World (2017) release date: Dec 25, 2017