In a further sign of how rapidly Kevin Spacey's once bright star is waning, director Ridley Scott and producers Imperative Entertainment and Sony Tristar have decided to reshoot all of the disgraced actor's scenes from the upcoming All the Money in the World, recasting Christopher Plummer as the billionaire oil baron J Paul Getty.
The move is unprecedented in Hollywood. It's not the first time Scott has been forced to reshoot – he faced a similar challenge when Oliver Reed died during the shooting of the Oscar-winning 2000 epic Gladiator – but on this occasion we're talking about a finished film, which was due to premiere on November 16 as the closing film of the AFI Film Festival, not to mention a living actor.
The film’s producers have pulled the AFI Festival debut to allow for the reshoots, though they are bravely sticking to the movie’s December 22 release date, giving Scott just six weeks to reshoot significant portions of the movie - Spacey is reported to have been on set for around eight days - before it lands in cinemas. All of the movies promotional materials, which were reportedly complete, will also have to be redesigned to omit Spacey.
Sources close to the production claim that Scott and the movie’s producers were determined not to let the scandal surrounding allegations of sexual harassment against Spacey damage a film that was already generating Oscar hype ahead of release, or the hard work of the cast and crew that worked on it.
Tristar said in a statement: "There are over 800 other actors, writers, artists, craftspeople and crew who worked tirelessly and ethically on this film, some for years, including one of cinema's master directors. It would be a gross injustice to punish all of them for the wrongdoings of one supporting actor in the film."
All the Money in the World tells the story of the 1973 kidnapping of John Paul Getty III, and the refusal of his grandfather J Paul Getty, originally played by a heavily prostheticised Spacey and now set to be played by Plummer, to pay a ransom for his release. The movie also stars Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams and, reshoots pending, should still open in US cinemas on December 22.