All the Money in the World—above all, the “expunging” of Kevin Spacey—and The Shape of Water


All the Money in the World—above all, the “expunging” of Kevin Spacey—and The Shape of Water

Joanne Laurier

5 January 2018

All the Money in the World, directed by Ridley Scott, written by David Scarpa; The Shape of Water, directed by Guillermo del Toro, written by del Toro and Vanessa Taylor

All the Money in the World

Ridley Scott’s All the Money in the World is a fictional account of the kidnapping of J. Paul Getty III, the grandson of billionaire oilman J. Paul Getty, in Italy in 1973.

The film is loosely based on John Pearson’s 1995 book, Painfully Rich: The Outrageous Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Heirs of J. Paul Getty. Getty was at one point the richest man in the US. By all accounts, he was also one of the most detestable.

The abduction of the 16-year-old Getty heir by Calabrian organized crime made international headlines at the time and undoubtedly possesses intriguing and suspenseful elements. In Scott’s work, however, the episode is not treated in any great depth and, frankly, a more immediate and pressing drama overtook the film’s production and release.

As most readers will know, the shooting and post-production of All the Money in the World took place with Kevin Spacey in the central role of J. Paul Getty. However, once allegations of sexual misconduct emerged against Spacey in late October, Sony executives and Scott shamefully rushed to remove the actor from the film, replacing him with Christopher Plummer and in the process reshooting 22 scenes.

Brook Barnes in the New York Times (“The Race to Erase Kevin Spacey,” December 13) described what was involved in scrubbing out Spacey’s performance. At a “secret, hastily arranged meeting” on November 7 between Scott, who had flown in from London, and Plummer, the director issued…

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