Just last month, Kevin Spacey was an acclaimed and admired performer, who was being eyed as a Oscar contender for his work in the upcoming Ridley Scott-directed docudrama All The Money In the World. Then Anthony Rapp came forward about a disturbing encounter he had with Spacey, when the Star Trek: Discovery cast member was only 14. More followed. And as a result Spacey’s Netflix series House of Cards is moving on without him, and the streaming studio dropped his near complete Gore Vidal biopic. But the most surprising impact of these accusations came last night, when it was announced Scott is cutting Spacey completely from All The Money In the World.
Deadline reports that the role of hard-hearted American industrialist Jean Paul Getty has been recast, bumping Spacey for Christopher Plummer. That Spacey might be dropped from in-development films or in-production TV shows is not so shocking. But All The Money In the World is not only in the can, it’s due to open in a month a half! Sony Pictures is sticking to that release date, but will be reshooting all of Spacey’s scenes with Plummer in an unprecedented move. It’s said his role was key, but small enough that Spacey spent only eight days on set.
Some are comparing this marketing maneuver to Wind River’s dropping its The Weinstein Company title card to better its Oscar chances. But Scott’s move calls for reshooting a major character, cutting into time to screen to critics and guilds, making it a far more dramatic decision. Hell, All The Money In the World was set to premiere at AFI Fest, which kicks off today, but Sony pulled it just this week.
Some are rushing to praise Scott for doing the moral thing, cutting an alleged sexual predator from his film. But reports on this decision seem based more on how Scott refused to let the work of all the rest of the cast and crew get lost amid Spacey’s scandal. In a statement, the studio said of the decision to move ahead with the film’s December release: “There are over 800 other actors, writers, artists, craftspeople and crew who worked tirelessly and ethically on this film. It would be a gross injustice to punish all of them for the wrongdoings of one supporting actor in the film.”
And then there’s the financial matter. All The Money In the World cost $40 million, which Sony might as well have set on fire in the wake of the accusations against Spacey. With the public incensed about the long-ignored abuses within the Hollywood community, its unlikely the Oscars, Golden Globes or guild awards would be eager to celebrate a Spacey film. Beyond that, with still more accusations against Spacey coming forward, the press tour for the movie—which also boasts Michelle Williams and Mark Wahlberg—would be a minefield.
Years of Hollywood looking the other way means we can’t trust the film industry to do the right thing when it comes to doing right by its cast and crew. We can, however, count on moviemakers to do the right thing for their finances. And because the public has been so rightfully outraged by Weinstein, Spacey, and other alleged serial abusers, it’s a good business decision to cut them out of the industry, even when doing so is dramatic and tricky.
To Scott’s credit, THR reports Plummer was the director’s first choice for the role of Getty. Studio pressure insisted on a bigger name, and so Spacey was cast. And Scott’s pressure on the studio has had Spacey cast out. Now if only we could retroactively go back and put Plummer in every Spacey role.
let's go ahead and have Christopher Plummer replace Kevin Spacey in everything pic.twitter.com/azXKuc2Dhu— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) November 9, 2017
The header image is Spacey in the heavy prosthetic make-up he wore for All The Money In The World, not just some random sulking white man.