‘All the Money in the World’ Spent Wisely to Ditch Kevin Spacey

Director Ridley Scott made a savvy, quick decision as the #MeToo movement changes the industry.

December 22, 2017 5:00 am

As dramatic as All the Money in the World may play in theaters, the real thriller plot-line occurred off screen.

Six weeks before the release of the film about the 1973 kidnapping of John Paul Getty III, the grandson of the richest man in the world, director Ridley Scott had been deep in post-production when a real-life plot twist hit. The biggest star on the marquee, Kevin Spacey, who played oil baron Jean Paul Getty, had been accused of sexual misconduct by actor Anthony Rapp.  Within a week, 14 other men, some of whom were teens when they crossed paths with Spacey, had stepped forward to make similar allegations.

The #metoo movement was just beginning to rewrite the script in Hollywood, but Scott took just hours to make the decision that would come to define the film. Consulting with producers, he opted to scrub the final cut of all traces of Spacey, recast Christopher Plummer for the part and reshoot those scenes in just nine days, requiring a major assist from co-stars Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams. The price tag for this historic feat? $10 million. But the message projected is, to borrow a favorite adjective of the real-life Getty, “invaluable.”

All the Money in the World
Christopher Plummer (left) and Director Ridley Scott on the set of TriStar Pictures’ ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD.

Plummer is the best part of a good, but not great, drama, devouring the scenery with enough relish to have earned a Golden Globe nomination. It’s hard to imagine Spacey’s take, which seemed from an early trailer to lean more towards a Frank Underwood-inspired air of menace than his successor’s idiosyncratic take, could have been as memorable.

More importantly, though, Scott’s maneuver has salvaged any chance of All the Money in the World actually making some money at the box office.

Times are changing. Distributor Orchard had to pull Louis C.K.’s movie, ‘I Love You Daddy,’ before its release when the comedian admitted to some seriously awful behavior of his own.  In an era where one of the most powerful producers in modern cinema, Harvey Weinstein, can be toppled from his perch by serious charges of sexual misconduct, its no longer acceptable to act as if nothing is wrong in Hollywood. Scott proved what can be done.

Scott may not get a best director nomination from Oscar voters for All the Money in the World. The statement he made by ditching Spacey and still making his release date within six weeks, however, deserves its own accolades.


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