All the Money in the World, but no Spacey


#1

So, Ridley Scott’s All the Money in the World, about the 1973 kidnapping of Jean Paul Getty’s grandson, originally had Kevin Spacey playing the elder Getty (and in the trailers, he seemed to be amazing in the role). Now, Scott is replacing him with Christopher Plummer, and vowing the film will still release December 22. TriStar pulled it from the AFI show though.

From the trailer, the movie looks pretty damn good, but wow, this is some tight schedule stuff here, shooting and post-production to get a new guy into a pretty important (if not that voluminous, in terms of screen time) role.


#2

Yeah, when Spacey shows up in the trailer, he’s usually flanked with an army of extras in a sumptuous location. That feels like it will cost a chunk of change to reshoot. Maybe they can rework the script so most of the time we see Mahky Mahk’s wicked awesome face on the phone as he listens to Baron Von Trapp’s voice on the phone before going off to bring some pain on some fahking kidnappahs.


#3

It’s a shame, because he’s such a legendarily great actor. Pity he’s a pedophile rapist.


#4

There goes the Amercian dream, that with enough celebrity and money, anyone could be a pedophile rapist.


#5

Apparently, Spacey only spent about 10 days filming his role, so maybe it won’t be that hard to do? Spacey was second billed just to get butts in seats most likely. Oops. OTOH, a lot more people now know about this movie than would have otherwise.

This sort of reminds me of the film “Tentacles”, a late 70’s low-budget Italian creature feature made in the wake of Jaws’ popularity about a giant octopus terrorizing a coastal town. It had a surprising amount of Oscar-level talent in the cast, including Shelley Winters, John Huston, and Henry Fonda. Fonda was one of the top-billed actors, but had a total of about 5 minutes screen time, and every scene he’s in, he’s talking on the phone from the backyard of what was almost certainly Fonda’s own beach house.


#6

At least this movie has a reasonably interesting real-world basis; Getty III was quite a piece of work, and the kidnapping and ensuing trial were sort of a media circus.


#7

Variety has an article detailing the kinds of costs this reshoot is going to have on the production; spending millions creating new marketing materials, hiring a new actor, and attempting to qualify for awards consideration in less than a month is preferable to delaying the film into 2018, where Danny Boyle’s new FX series on the Getty kidnapping, which premieres in January, could steal its thunder.


#8

At least it won’t cost all the money in the world.

I’ve been wondering about this. What does it mean to “fire” someone in an instance like this? Normally, when you hear of a star or director getting fired, it’s during or even before shooting. But in this case, it sounds like Spacey’s work on the movie was done, and they were deep into post-production. So presumably, he’s been paid already. Does he get blocked from residuals and things like that, since he’s not ‘in’ the movie anymore? Or is the firing just symbolic?

Just curious how things like this are handled, legally/financially.


#9

I would like to know that, too. As you said, I can think of a few instances were a star was fired during filming (Peter Sellers after suffering a near-fatal heart attack on Kiss Me, Stupid and Eric Stoltz for creative differences in Back to the Future), but replacing a finished performance seems unprecedented. Just a few weeks ago, Sony were gearing up to position Spacey for a best supporting Oscar nod.


#10

I guess it depends on the contracts. Is he paid a sum regardless, plus whatever else based on the film’s take? Is that take above or below the line? I have no idea. I can’t imagine he didn’t get something upfront, but I would not be surprised to learn that he is missing out now on a lot more, assuming the film isn’t a bomb. In that case, i can only also assume that the contractual relationship had an out for the studio concerning something like this–some sort of “if you do something that will cost us money you can be booted” or something. It’s all sort of opaque to me.


#11

The Hollywood union contracts are pretty rigid in making sure actors, directors don’t get shoved out of deals. Now in this case it’s certainly warranted but the deals are there so a studio cant fuck someone over for BS reasons. I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets all his money still.


#12

Yeah, probably the first time it’s happened. It’s happened on some TV pilots though, including the Game of Thrones pilot, where Dany and Cateyln Stark were replaced.

The Eric Stoltz one was significant though - filming was essentially complete and they just decided Stoltz wasn’t very funny so he had to go. It was unprecedented at the time, and a far larger role than in this instance - the biggest role, of course.

Harvey Keitel on Apocalypse Now filmed a bunch in the Martin Sheen role too, but not as much.


#13

Poor Harvey Keitel. He and Jennifer Jason Leigh were replaced by Sydney Pollack and Marie Richardson on Eyes Wide Shut, when Kubrick’s final film went massively over schedule, too.

I remember reading in sound editor Walter Murch’s book that during his involvement with Apocalypse Now: Redux, when attempting to reassemble some cut scenes, he came across some of the old Keitel-as-Willard footage, and said that everything about it felt wrong, like being in an alternate reality.

That really must’ve sucked for Stoltz.


#14

Well, I don’t think “essentially complete” is quite true… Looks like they replaced him 4 weeks into shooting, though that is still obviously quite a significantly late time to replace the lead character.


#15

I think as far as this was gone in production, they should have just kept Spacey in it, and obviously nixed any public emphasis of his role in the movie.


#16

If they thought that was practicable, they certainly would have gone that route (especially since his performance is reportedly very good in the role) - he’s just complete poison at this point.


#17

I mean … maybe? Once they start digitally erasing Spacey from all the movies he’s been in, perhaps? This one was effectively in the can, too.

I agree for all new and future roles, sure, absolutely.

I guess it’s not that much in the big scheme of things, though “8 to 10 days” between now and what December 22nd? That’s kinda nuts.

Imperative will shoulder the additional costs of reshoots. Reshooting Spacey’s work as Getty is expected to take eight to 10 days, according to insiders close to the project, and will likely be north of $10 million to the film’s budget

It makes more sense if you consider the film is sort of risky territory already in terms of topic:

As it is, “All the Money in the World,” which centers on the kidnapping of Getty’s grandson, is a difficult sell and a film that needs critical goodwill if it’s going to to succeed. … They felt that continuing on the project with Spacey’s name above the title would cloud its Oscar hopes and doom its commercial prospects.

Adding $10 million in cost doesn’t seem too bad if the alternative is total flop? However the time does not seem there to do it. I count ~40 days before Dec 22nd?

What I was proposing is that they bury Spacey’s name on the posters (as in barely list it in 6 point type), and in the movie credits, but maybe that can’t be done contractually, either…


#18

They’ve made their money from those. They will probably kick him out of the Academy though, and there’s talk of taking away his 2 oscars (which has to be unlikely).

They aren’t going to just throw away a movie that they have substantial investment in, which they also think has a potential future of critical acclaim that they are counting upon to give it box office longevity. It’s an unprecedented action because people are far less forgiving of abhorrent behavior than they may have been in the past with Roman Polanksi, etc. - this is as big an issue currently in our culture as it gets - complete poison to release it without this switch (the timeline seems so crazy, but obviously is required to give 80 year old Ridley Scott and the studio a chance at award season, and awards are important for this type of film. They are also probably suspecting that they’ll get rewarded for taking this difficult action with business that otherwise would have been repelled by Spacey.


#19

Yeah, maybe, I just don’t personally see this movie as such a lock for critical acclaim and oscars and all that. It’s already risky territory, for sure, but that doesn’t de-risk it, quite the opposite due to schedule?

I don’t oppose any decision on moral grounds, but we’ll have to wait and see how this movie actually does. My gut says it won’t ever and can’t ever be this oscar award winning extravaganza of their dreams (because it’s not about a disabled person overcoming all the odds, My Left Foot style), but who knows?

Also, since Spacey is in heavy old man prosthetics for this, his face at least was never visually going to be associated for audiences.


#20

I agree the film is iffy in terms of its possible reception. After all, the subject is dark, the outcome historically was unsatisfying and somewhat brutal, the victim’s life was pretty much trashed by the experience, and there really isn’t much of a happy ending.