Under normal circumstances, it wouldn't be considered too impressive for Ridley Scott to deliver his newest film All the Money in the World to theaters right on schedule. But Scott defied all the odds by going back with only weeks until release, and reshot several scenes to replace actor Kevin Spacey with Christopher Plummer. But how did he do it so fast? During an interview with The New York Times, Scott talked about the All the Money in the World reshoots.
After the news broke about sexual misconduct allegations against Spacey, Scott’s All the Money in the World was suddenly facing a huge problem, let Spacey's small, but important part in the film remain and bring a bad association with the film, he could delay release; or, he could replace Spacey entirely with a new actor and still release the film on time. But as Scott tells the New York Times, the third option seemed to be the best decision. “You can sit there and let something kill you, or you can take action,” the filmmaker says. “I took action.”
Apparently, All the Money in the World producers and financiers at Sony held emergency meetings after the Spacey news broke, trying to decide what to do with the movie. Eventually, everyone agreed to release the film on its scheduled release date and brace themselves for a negative audience reaction.
It wasn't long after that two of the films producers, Dan Friedkin and Bradley Thomas, revealed a new plan for the film that they had come up with director Ridley Scott: reshoot Spacey’s scenes with a new actor and still maintain the planned release date. Sony liked the idea but was hesitant, saying the proposition was impossible because there was not enough time.
But Scott made it happen, he assembled crew and cast members, including Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams, and in the span of 9 days re-shot scenes replacing Spacey with Christopher Plummer, an actor Scott says he originally considered for the role before Spacey landed the part. “There was no digital trickery required, either, contrary to the speculation,” Scott told the NYT . “A little bit of good-morning makeup and some front lighting and he was ready to go. It was quite simple.”
Plummer told The Hollywood Reporter that he was about to go on vacation with his family when Scott reached out to him and offered him the gig.
“I’ve always been a fan of Ridley and wanted to work with him. I thought, ‘My God, here’s an incredible chance.’ We talked for a few minutes. He obviously has an extraordinary sense of humor, and that endeared him to me immediately. I told him, ‘Listen, I have to go home and read the script,’ which I did. I kind of knew I was going to do it even if I hated the script. I had a feeling. It was almost insane, so I thought. ‘Great, let’s try it!'”
Plummer credited his theater experience for helping him memorize his lines in a very short period of time. Plummer also said even though the reshoots went quick, he never felt rushed, because “we created our own pace. And Ridley covered it so wonderfully with his cameras that nobody waited; we did it very quickly. Ridley is so quick in shoots — he only does one or two takes because he covers it so well with cameras.”
Scott even offered to let Plummer watch the scenes Spacey filmed, but Plummer declined:
It doesn’t do an actor any good to watch someone else. When you take over a part in the theater, it’s better that you don’t go and see it first so you’re not influenced in any way, the role comes from you. I saw some of the kidnapping stuff, which I thought was very well done, but that’s all I saw. Bits and pieces that didn’t involve J. Paul Getty at all. I hadn’t seen the trailer [with Spacey] either.
It already seems that Scott's gamble on reshoots with Plummer have paid off, Plummer was just nominated for a Golden Globe award for his performance.
All the Money in the World opens December 25, 2017.