He realised “within an hour” that he had to do something.
Ridley Scott has admitted his latest film, All the Money in the World, “wouldn’t have gone out” if he had been unable to reshoot Kevin Spacey’s scenes.
The director made the decision to recast the former House of Cards actor following a number of sexual misconduct allegations made against him.
Christopher Plummer was brought in to play the role of J. Paul Getty just weeks before the film’s December 18 release in the United States.
The Blade Runner director recalled how he knew “within an hour” of learning about the allegations that he had to recast Spacey.
He insisted on the BBC:
“The film wouldn’t have gone out if I hadn’t done it. So clearly, to do that, was very uncomfortable. I was completely taken by surprise.
“Honestly, within about an hour, my commercial head started to kick in and I realised I had to do something about it immediately.”
He recalled how Plummer had “always been there” as a contender for the role of Getty, which made it an easy decision when it came time to recast.
Adding that “everything of Kevin Spacey” had been removed from the film, he explained:
“There are 22 scenes that we had to re-do. Because I’m very specific about how I make movies, and so, people say ‘did you take the opportunity to improve anything?’
“Not really, without being conceited, I know what the hell I’m doing after all these years.
“The film was pretty well perfect then, so I was slotting stuff into it. And that, of course, protected my new Mr Getty, because he must own the part – he can’t just be following Kevin Spacey’s footsteps.”
The 80-year-old said that Spacey’s portrayal of J. Paul Getty had been “cooler” and “chillier”, but that Plummer’s “smile and twinkle” made him equally as affective in the role.
“Christopher comes with this inordinate charm, a smile and a twinkle. He’s always had that twinkle.
“When in fact, he’s doing the same words as Kevin, the smile and twinkle make him that much more affective.
“It makes him quite lethal, but in a charming way.”
And when pushed about whether the final decision to remove Spacey from the movie was a moral or commercial one, the director admitted it was “a bit of both”.
“That’s tricky, I think it was a little bit of both. But moral is a word we could talk about for the next two hours, okay?
“So I’d like to say, initially it was a commercial decision, which would be a little hand-in-hand with a moral decision.”
All the Money in the World tells the story of the kidnapping of J. Paul Getty’s teenage grandson, J.P. ‘Paul’ Getty III, in Rome in 1973.
Getty, who was then the richest man that ever lived, refused to pay the $17 million demanded in ransom demanded by the ‘Ndrangheta mafia group.
He argued that if payed the ransom, it could make his other grandchildren a target.
The kidnappers responded by cutting off the 16-year-old’s ear and mailing it to a newspaper. His grandfather than negotiated the ransom demands, before paying $2.2 million for his safe return.
All the Money In the World is out in Irish cinemas now.