It is true that All The Money In The World director Ridley Scott originally wanted Christopher Plummer to play billionaire tycoon John Paul Getty in his latest film over Kevin Spacey. But part of his job, as he says in a new interview, is to “put bums on seats.” Spacey could do just that until of course the allegations of decades of sexual assault became public. Then, Scott was put in a difficult position: Spacey’s involvement in the project could mean people would boycott the film. But there was only three weeks until the film’s release date so many wondered if he had time to re-cast and re-shoot. As we know, Scott decided to do the latter and re-do Spacey’s scenes with his first choice Plummer.
Yesterday, that decision earned Scott and stars Plummer and Michelle Williams Golden Globe nominations.
But it was the aftermath of what went down when the sordid allegations came to light that are so extraordinary.
“I waited for Mr Spacey to call me up, I expected him to call me up and say what he wanted to say, but I got nothing, not even from his representatives, which left me free to ‘just move forward, dude’,” Scott said.
“So, I got on the phone to the cast. I said, ‘Will you come back?’ They said, ‘Absolutely.’ I said, ‘For how much?’ They said, ‘For free.’ Everyone came back for nothing. That indicates how strong the feeling was. And by the way, there was no persuasion on my part whatsoever.”
To re-shoot the scenes in Italy in The U.K., it was reportedly going to cost AUD $13.2 million – a quarter of the film’s budget. Williams felt so strongly about Scott’s decision she offered back her salary. “When they asked me to reshoot, I said: ‘Absolutely I will do it and if you need the salary back, I will give it to you,” says Williams. “I am angry for the people that he hurt; I am angry on their behalf. A movie is less important than a human life, so they are who my heart goes out to because the tyranny of abuse is that it’s always about [the perpetrators]… But sometimes a brick hits you on the head and you are like, ‘Ow. That hurt,’ but I am glad that the thing is falling down.”
All The Money In The World is in Australian cinemas January 4.