On Wednesday, a woman came forward to claim that Kevin Spacey had gotten her 18-year-old son drunk and then sexually assaulted him. This happened in Nantucket, and the Nantucket police now have an open investigation into Kevin Spacey as well. Much like Harvey Weinstein, it seems like Spacey was an international predator, and there are victims strewn around the world, in multiple jurisdictions. Much like Weinstein, I’ve lost count of how many victims have come forward and for that I apologize. Every victim is important and every story needs to be told. Keep coming forward, keep telling your stories. I believe you.
A few days ago, Sony announced that they were pulling out of their AFI Fest premiere of the film All the Money In the World. Kevin Spacey has a smallish but significant role in the true story of the kidnapping and ransom of John Paul Getty III. Spacey plays J. Paul Getty, the patriarch of the Getty family who refused to pay the ransom on his grandson. The film, directed by Ridley Scott, already seemed to be a bizarre exercise and Spacey – wearing tons of face prosthetics – seemed like an odd choice for Getty. Well, in the wake of everything, Sony and Ridley Scott have made a very bold choice: they’re completely editing Spacey out of the finished film and recasting the role. Like, this film was supposed to come out next month!! This is crazy.
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.
Should we applaud Ridley Scott here? I think maybe we should. Granted, I still don’t understand why Spacey was cast in the first place, not because Ridley “should have known” about Spacey, but because Spacey did not fit at all into the role and he seemed shoehorned into it. But good for Ridley for deciding to completely replace Spacey. That’s a bold decision.
Here’s the old trailer, featuring Spacey:
Photos courtesy of Getty, ‘All the Money In the World’.