As the allegations against Kevin Spacey have mounted, companies affiliated with him have started cutting ties. Netflix is moving forward without him in what is now House of Cards' final season, and they dumped a biopic of Gore Vidal in which he was set to star. And now, in a REALLY SHOCKING move, Ridley Scott has decided to cut Spacey’s performance from the upcoming film All the Money in the World. Christopher Plummer will reshoot scenes as J. Paul Getty, replacing Spacey entirely. Purely from a filmmaking standpoint, nothing like this has ever been done before. Money is set to come out in December, and was in the can. Now, within just a few weeks, they will reshoot the Getty scenes, re-edit, and re-finish the film in time for the December 22 release. (Sony had already demoted Money, but Ridley Scott didn’t want everyone else who worked on the film to feel punished by delaying or shelving it, so they’re sticking to the schedule. Michelle Williams’ Oscar prospects probably factored in as well.)
The movie already has a trailer! As if it’s not enough to reshoot an entire performance—though it should be noted that J. Paul Getty is a supporting role—they’re going to have to redo all the marketing, too. In a month! This is so bonkers! But it’s also a clear indicator of how toxic the fallout from the Weinstein scandal has gotten, and how dreadfully it taints everything it touches. I mean, WE knew it was bad, but it kind of felt like the studios were trying to work around it—are still working around it—but this is an unprecedented move that makes it impossible to ignore how big this scandal is getting. Amazon previously dumped a television project from David O. Russell, but frankly, they’d spent tens of millions and seen very little result, so the scandal became an excuse to do something they were probably going to do eventually, anyway. But that project was in developmental stages—Sony is reconfiguring a movie six weeks before it’s due in theaters.
Honestly, in cold cynical light, this is probably their best option for salvaging any kind of success for the film, never mind Scott’s romantic notions of not “punishing” the hundreds of other people who worked on it. Rather than risk Money bombing because people don’t want to support Kevin Spacey, they’re going to dump millions into the production to redo the movie without him. It’s a business calculation—what is going to cost us more, keeping Spacey and alienating the audience, or spending more to erase him? As this scandal continues to unfold, it’s probable other studios will have to make this same calculation, too. Although I doubt anyone will go to the lengths to cram in a new performance at the eleventh hour. And you know what would be funny? If Christopher Plummer ends up with an Oscar nomination.