This morning, we got our first footage of Christopher Plummer in All the Money in the World, the new true story drama from filmmaker Ridley Scott. This in and of itself may not seem impressive, but given that Plummer’s role was filled by Kevin Spacey just three weeks ago, and given that Scott rushed reshoots to help the film meet its December release date, this is kind of insane. These reshoots are actually still happening, but Scott is so fast, so precise, that he already has completed footage of Plummer to throw into a new TV spot for the re-edited film.
The movie follows the kidnapping of 16-year-old John Paul Getty III (Charlie Plummer) and his mother’s (Michelle Williams) attempt to convince his billionaire grandfather to pay his ransom. Spacey originally played the grandfather, but when allegations surfaced about the actor’s sexual misconduct, the future of All the Money in the World was thrown in doubt. Would the film be pushed to 2018? Surely its Oscar prospects were over.
Scott, however, had other plans. Speaking to EW, the filmmaker says his reaction to the Spacey news was immediately about saving the rest of the film:
“I was finished with the film and was in [U.K. recording studio] Abbey Road finalizing the music. Someone was like: Guess what? And that’s where it began. I sat and thought about it and realized, we cannot. You can’t tolerate any kind of behavior like that. And it will affect the film. We cannot let one person’s action affect the good work of all these other people. It’s that simple.”
Scott says he had “no idea” about Spacey’s behavior, but also notes there are other shoes to drop:
“I think it was about time. Harvey [Weinstein] definitely was way overdue. There will still be a few more people out there gritting their teeth who are way overdue.”
As for All the Money in the World, Scott says he tried to quietly arrange for recasting before the whole thing blew up:
“You have to know who you’re going to go for [to recast the role] and if he’s available. Chris [Plummer] was always on the list. So you find that out, but quietly, because you don’t want it going around. I flew into New York and met with [Plummer] and he said yes. So then we had to figure out if everyone else would be available to fit in these new days of shooting. Miraculously, they were. Before you can make the decision you have to make these quick phone calls around — not to the actors directly, but to the agents — saying there’s a possibility I may need some pickups [a.k.a. additional shooting days]. You don’t say why because of the gossip, but of course it was really for something much more significant… It was better to do it like this because once you inform the system, it’s everywhere. Once two people know what it’s about, bang, it’s all out there.”
Scott says he never thought about pushing the movie’s release date, and bluntly explains why he thought he could make the December date:
“Because I know I can deliver. [Laughs] I move like lightning. I’m already two scenes ahead. It’s simple! If you know what you’re doing, you don’t need 19 takes. You do one for the actor, one for me. It’s all planned out. When you storyboard, you’ve already pre-filmed the movie in your head — the wide shots, close shots, establishing shots. You’ve gotten some of your weird ideas when you’re quietly sitting, storyboarding by yourself. After a while you learn to trust and listen to your intuition. And I listen to mine. I trust it.”
Reshoots began on November 20th and ran through November 29th, and every day Scott has been sending footage to his editor and placing it into the film in order to get the movie complete and ready to be seen by critics and awards groups ahead of their deadlines. And it looks like Scott’s going to make it, ahead of schedule no less.