This piece was further developed and submitted as part of my portfolio for a university project.
It was recently announced that famed actor, Kevin Spacey, would be replaced by actor, Christopher Plummer, in Ridley Scott’s upcoming biographical crime drama, All The Money In The World. The news came following serious allegations of sexual assault and after Netflix dropped the actor too from hit TV series, House of Cards and a Gore Vidal biopic that the streaming giant had picked up to distribute.
Spacey was set to star in Scott’s film as American industrialist J. Paul Getty, who was named the richest living American in 1957 by Fortune Magazine and who famously negotiated the ransom of his then 16 year old grandson who was kidnapped. In an unprecedented move, director Ridley Scott has managed to hire Christopher Plummer, who reportedly was his initial choice for the role but the studio pressure the director into hiring somebody more famous. The film was supposed to have premiered on the 16th November ahead of its 22nd December release date in America and the 5th January next year for the UK. Although the reshoots with Plummer will reportedly only take 10 days, it’s still a very ambitious thing to do, especially when the film is so close to general release. That said, if it were to happen to anyone’s film, let it be Ridley Scott as he is one of the most economical directors of our time – All The Money In The World will be his seventh film this decade – that’s a film a year and particularly impressive seeing as he is nearing eighty!
Not only is this an gutsy move for the film, but it also serves as an important moment for the film industry as a whole. As well as Hollywood waking up to the realisation that not all of its filmmakers may be saints, it’s a nail in the coffin for those individuals who sexually take advantage of others. It will not be tolerated and although Spacey has not officially been found guilty, clearly both Netflix and Ridley Scott don’t want their products to have any associations (and also inevitably to avoid controversy and protect themselves) with this unacceptable behaviour. In particular with Scott’s film, it seems that he is intent on campaigning for the upcoming Awards season (reviews are yet to be published and probably not for a while with this major hiccup) and if audiences had remembered the film more for the fact Spacey was in it and didn’t pay attention to the actual film Scott had made, it could have severely diminished returns. If anything with Scott’s film, this move may even boost bums on seats with people associating the film with recasting Spacey.
The other thing that could happen of course, is the film recieves negative reviews if Plummer’s performance is not up to scratch and this then begs the question – should one jeopardise their film for the sake of one individual? On a much larger scale, Harvey Weinstein’s recent ousting from Hollywood has much bigger implications for the film industry. As The Weinstein Company, co-run with his brother, Bob Weinstein, they are the distributors of many film releases and have multiple films that were set for Awards contention. One notable example includes Benedict Cumberbatch-starring Thomas Edison biopic, The Current War. Paddington 2, which is currently doing excellently in the UK is having trouble in the US acquiring a distributor to meet its 12th January release date. Is it fair that every single member of the cast and crew behind these films has to suffer in that their film isn’t even scheduled for release yet due to one individual’s conduct?
It’s certainly a thorny issue and one that raises a lot more questions than it does answers. It would certainly be ironic if Plummer gets nominated or even wins the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, which surely would be a kick in the teeth for Spacey. But for better or worse, All The Money In The World will surely be remembered for this groundbreaking move and shows that Hollywood will not stand anymore for any such despicable behaviour.
All The Money In The World will be released in UK cinemas on 5th January 2018
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