(US - 2017)
Directed by Ridley Scott. Written by David Scarpa. Cast: Michelle Williams, Christopher Plummer, Mark Wahlberg, Romain Duris, Timothy Hutton, Charlie Plummer, Marco Leonardi, Andrew Buchan, Stacy Martin, Giuseppe Bonifati, Andrea Piedimonte, Nicolas Vaporidis, Charlie Shotwell, Guglielmo Favilla, Clive Wood, Giulio Base, Riccardo de Torrebruna. (R, 132 mins)
Regardless of how the film turned out, it's inevitable that ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD, a chronicle of the 1973 kidnapping of 16-year-old oil heir Paul Getty, will be remembered most for its role in "#MeToo" phenomenon and the epidemic of sexual assault and misconduct allegations that rocked the entertainment industry in the fall of 2017, beginning with the downfall of Harvey Weinstein. Approximately six weeks before the Christmas release date, director Ridley Scott made the decision to remove Kevin Spacey from the completed film following numerous disturbing allegations against the Oscar-winning actor. Cast as billionaire J. Paul Getty and essaying the role under a ton of prosthetic makeup that rendered him unrecognizable, Spacey was already set as the focus of the film's big awards season push. As more accusers came forward detailing incidents with Spacey dating back to the 1980s, Scott feared that the growing scandal would only prove toxic and potentially lead to the shelving of the film and everyone's hard work being all for naught. In order to save the film, he then made the decision to cut all of Spacey's scenes and brought in Christopher Plummer--his original choice before distributor Sony pushed for Spacey--for some burning-the-midnight-oil reshoots that took place from November 20 to November 29, 2017 This decision also required stars Michelle Williams and Mark Wahlberg to rearrange their schedules in order to redo their Getty scenes with Plummer, and the stitches show only slightly: only in one shot does it look like Plummer's been composited into an existing scene, and in his new scenes with Plummer, Wahlberg is clearly wearing a wig and, perhaps in the middle of prepping for another role, looks noticeably thinner in the face. Late-in-the-game cast changes have happened before, for a variety of reasons: the eventually blacklisted Howard Da Silva starred in the completed 1951 western SLAUGHTER TRAIL before RKO ordered his scenes cut and reshot with Brian Donlevy after Da Silva was accused of communist leanings and refused to testify before HUAC; when Tyrone Power died 2/3 of the way through filming the 1959 Biblical epic SOLOMON AND SHEBA, his footage was scrapped and Yul Brynner was hired to reshoot all of his completed scenes. These are but two instances of quick decisions being made to save a film, but the time element makes ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD something noteworthy (and, it's worth mentioning, easier to pull off in the age of digital). The complete removal of a major star due to a scandal, so close to the release date that said scandal is still ongoing in real time as the film hits theaters is unprecedented. And for the most part, the legendary filmmaker--80 years old and showing no signs of slowing down--pulled it off.
|Kevin Spacey as J. Paul Getty
|Christopher Plummer as J. Paul Getty
|Original poster art prior
to Spacey being cut from the film