Plum­mer re­plac­ing Spacey


TORONTO — The de­ci­sion to erase Kevin Spacey from Ri­d­ley Scott’s fin­ished bi­o­graph­i­cal drama All the Money in the World and re­place him with Cana­dian ac­tor Christo­pher Plum­mer — just six weeks be­fore the­atri­cal re­lease — has film­mak­ers ap­plaud­ing and mar­vel­ling at how the team will pull it off.

“First of all, I think it should be com­mended for them to not give up,” said Michael Dowse, Cana­dian di­rec­tor and co-writer be­hind the Fubar fran­chise, which re­cently launched as a new se­ries on Vice­land.

“They ob­vi­ously be­lieve in their film and they ob­vi­ously be­lieve that the film is big­ger than the one part. I think it’s highly am­bi­tious but if any­body can do it, it’s Ri­d­ley Scott. He’s a real gen­eral and he’s also got a great team be­hind him.”

On Wed­nes­day, news broke that Spacey is be­ing cut from the film in the wake of sex­ual as­sault al­le­ga­tions that also led to his fir­ing from Net­flix’s House of Cards.

“I think it’s com­pletely the right thing to do,” said Emmy Award­win­ning Cana­dian writer-di­rec­tor Pa­tri­cia Rozema.

“It’s a big, bold mes­sage,” added Jen­nifer Jonas, who owns New Real Films and has pro­duced fea­tures in­clud­ing Born to Be Blue star­ring Ethan Hawke. “I think it’s Hol­ly­wood try­ing to come to terms with their decades of com­plic­ity with sex­ual ha­rass­ment. It’s cer­tainly ex­treme but it’s hard to deny that Ri­d­ley Scott’s heart (seems) to be in the right place.”

Spacey had al­ready shot his scenes as bil­lion­aire oil ty­coon J. Paul Getty, grand­fa­ther of kid­napped teen John Paul Getty III. Co-stars in­clude Michelle Williams, Mark Wahlberg, and Ti­mothy Hut­ton.

The film, which is set in 1973, is due to hit the­atres Dec. 22.

“If any­one could do it, Ri­d­ley Scott could, be­cause of course he had sim­i­lar ex­pe­ri­ence ... when Oliver Reed died (dur­ing the mak­ing of ) Gla­di­a­tor and he had to ma­nip­u­late the im­ages and fake over the shoul­ders and all that stuff,” said Jonas.

Still, cut­ting out an ac­tor en­tirely and re­plac­ing that per­son af­ter shoot­ing is wrapped ap­pears to be a first.

“There’s ob­vi­ous ex­am­ples of Mar­tin Sheen re­plac­ing Har­vey Kei­tel in Apoca­lypse Now, or Michael J. Fox re­plac­ing Eric Stoltz in Back to the Fu­ture, but that’s in pro­duc­tion,” said Dowse.

“I’ve never heard of it be­ing done on post-(pro­duc­tion). Nor­mally they just bury the film and the film never gets seen.”

Spacey re­port­edly spent about eight days film­ing scenes, which makes re­plac­ing him “within the realm of the con­tem­plat­able,” said Jonas. “If it were some­thing like 60 days, it would be im­pos­si­ble to imag­ine.”

On such a high-pro­file pro­duc­tion, chances are they’ve kept all the sets, wardrobe and wigs.

“So from just a lo­gis­ti­cal pri­mary stand­point, I guess his main chal­lenge would be re­con­ven­ing the other ac­tors,” said Jonas.

Op­tions for the reshoots in­clude re­turn­ing to orig­i­nal lo­ca­tions or re­lo­cat­ing some scenes to sim­pler set­tings. Face re­place­ment tech­nol­ogy and other vis­ual ef­fects could also be used.

But the job might be eas­ier if they fo­cus on close-ups “be­cause there’s only one per­son in the shot,” said Rozema.

“I think you’re go­ing to see a lot of close-ups — and Christo­pher is go­ing to love that. They just make you feel more im­por­tant and a big­ger pres­ence in the movie.”

Dowse noted al­le­ga­tions have been mount­ing against Spacey since the end of Oc­to­ber, so Scott has had about a week and a half to de­vise a plan for the role.

“They’re prob­a­bly knee-deep in it,” he said.

And Plum­mer, who was born in Toronto and won a best-sup­port­ing ac­tor Os­car for Be­gin­ners, was re­port­edly Scott’s first choice for the role of J. Paul Getty, “so in a way it’s worked out for the film,” he added.

“He’s one of our great­est liv­ing ac­tors, so he’ll be able to do it, and there’s prob­a­bly some level of aware­ness and prepa­ra­tion for the role, if he was Ri­d­ley’s orig­i­nal choice,” said Dowse.

Plum­mer, 87, is also closer to the age of the char­ac­ter than 58-yearold Spacey and likely won’t need to spend as much time get­ting pros­thet­ics and makeup done.

Such pros­thet­ics can be seen on Spacey in the trailer for the film, one of sev­eral pieces of mar­ket­ing ma­te­rial that are al­ready out there and now need to be re­done.

“They’re pros so I’m sure they’ll be fine con­ti­nu­ity-wise,” said Dowse, not­ing Scott is “very ef­fi­cient” as a di­rec­tor.

“They’ve ob­vi­ously found a new way of do­ing it and ... they should be ap­plauded for do­ing it. It’s a re­ally brave and great move.

“He’s be­ing erased from a film, so there are reper­cus­sions for your ac­tions, and there’s no way that one bad ap­ple should bring down what looks like a pretty great film.”


Christo­pher Plum­mer, above, will re­place Kevin Spacey in Ri­d­ley Scott’s up­com­ing film All the Money in the World, af­ter al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual as­sault against Spacey came to light.

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