In an unprecedented bold move, director Ridley Scott, along with Imperative Entertainment’s Dan Friedkin and Bradley Thomas have decided to remove Kevin Spacey from their finished movie All The Money In The World. Christopher Plummer has been set to replace Spacey in the role of J Paul Getty. Re-shoots of the key scenes are expected to commence immediately. Scott is also determined to to keep the film’s December 22 release date.
In a unified front, the cast and crew of the film, and Sony Pictures, unanimously agreed to re-shoot all of Spacey’s scenes, with Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams’ cooperation part of the mix. This comes on the heels of the decision to pull the film from the prestige closing night slot of the AFI Festival. That move resulted after a weekend of back and forth, with Scott and Friedkin in particular incensed that the sordid allegations against Spacey might doom a film that Scott dropped everything to direct, and on which so many people worked hard and did not deserve to see the results hobbled in the marketplace because of the taint of scandal. So they took control of the narrative. Scott is a maverick, and didn’t shrink under the pressure to re-stage the key scenes involving J Paul Getty, the oilman who refused to pay a ransom after his grandson, John Paul Getty III was kidnapped.
Spacey worked about eight to ten days on the film, but the character is an important presence even if much of the action in the thriller involves the frantic efforts of the kidnapped heir’s mother Gail Harris (Williams), and Getty’s advisor (Wahlberg) to free the youth. The nightmare escalated after the family received his severed ear as proof the kidnappers were going to kill him if the money wasn’t delivered.
Though far more dramatic, considering how quickly the release date is approaching, with the need to not only reshoot but also to redo the marketing materials, this becomes the second instance where filmmakers refused to allow their picture to be doomed by scandal. The other example came when writer/director Taylor Sheridan, stars Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen and producers Basil Iwanyk and Matthew George wrested back control of the critically acclaimed Wind River from The Weinstein Company after dozens of women claimed that ousted TWC co-chairman Harvey Weinstein molested them.
Given the state of the current environment and news, it’s inspiring to see filmmakers fight for what is morally right, and the producers’ support of Scott gives the movie a chance for a fair shake in the marketplace and potentially in awards season, which would not have happened had Spacey’s scenes been left intact after the troubling allegations leveled against the actor.
David Scarpa adapted the John Pearson book. Imperative Entertainment financed the film, and Friedkin and Thomas produced along with Scott Free’s Scott and Kevin J. Walsh, Quentin Curtis and Chris Clark.
Scott once before was forced to deal with re-shooting on a film, following the death of Oliver Reed in the Oscar winning Gladiator. Those circumstances were dramatically different than the decision that was made today on All The Money In The World.