When allegations of sexual misconduct against Kevin Spacey first emerged in late October, the future of All the Money in the World—Ridley Scott’s true-story drama about the kidnapping of John Paul Getty III and his grandfather J. Paul Getty’s refusal to pay the ransom—was unclear.
The movie had been filmed earlier this year with Spacey playing the older Getty and was due for release on Dec. 22, just two short months away. Many other projects in various stages of completion have been canceled because of their links to alleged harassers, but the team behind All the Money in the World was keen for the film to go ahead, saying “It would be a gross injustice to punish all of them for the wrongdoings of one supporting actor in the film.”
Ten days later, it was announced that Spacey’s scenes would be reshot with Christopher Plummer—Scott’s original choice, before a producer insisted on a high-profile name—playing the role of the family patriarch. In order to maintain the Dec. 22 release date, Scott and the production team had to secure the original locations and actors and reshoot all of Spacey’s scenes over the course of nine days (which included Thanksgiving). The cost of the emergency reshoot is $10 million, around one quarter of the film’s initial budget.
It’s an enormous undertaking, one some doubted the director could pull off. And yet it appears he has, with a trailer featuring Plummer dropping today (Nov. 29), the final day of the reshoot:
Entertainment Weekly spoke with the ambitious director on the set about replacing Spacey. Scott said that the news of Spacey’s alleged behaviour came as a shock; he was at Abbey Road, finalizing the music for the film, when he first heard the news. He decided to take action to protect the film from going down with Spacey. “I sat and thought about it and realized, we cannot. You can’t tolerate any kind of behavior like that,” he said. “And it will affect the film. We cannot let one person’s action affect the good work of all these other people. It’s that simple.”
When asked if Spacey had been well-behaved on set, Scott replied, “Well, I don’t know. You never see that.” He said he hasn’t spoken to Spacey at all about the decision to recast him.
Scott never considered moving the release, having no doubt he could deliver on the risky, high-stakes reshoot:
I know I can deliver. [Laughs] I move like lightning. I’m already two scenes ahead. It’s simple! If you know what you’re doing, you don’t need 19 takes. You do one for the actor, one for me. It’s all planned out. When you storyboard, you’ve already pre-filmed the movie in your head — the wide shots, close shots, establishing shots. You’ve gotten some of your weird ideas when you’re quietly sitting, storyboarding by yourself. After a while you learn to trust and listen to your intuition. And I listen to mine. I trust it.
The new scenes are being edited as they’re being filmed, which explains how on Earth the Plummer trailer is already available:
I’ve been shooting since Monday [Nov. 20] and in with the editor every night since then. We’re not dealing with celluloid anymore; it’s all digital, and I send [the footage each day] to [editor Claire Simpson] and she cuts it, and I can go in and look after shooting. Everything I’ve shot is already in [the final cut] up through yesterday morning.
The director, who turns 80 on Thursday, says he’s already started reconnaissance on another film, which he hopes to start in Febuary.
One thing’s for sure: You shouldn’t bet against Ridley Scott.