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Inside the whirlwind reshoots of Ridley Scott's All the Money in the World

Christopher Plummer, All the Money in the World, Ridley Scott

After numerous sexual harassment and sexual assault allegations were made against Kevin Spacey, Ridley Scott decided that he wasn't about the let the cast and crew of ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD pay the price for the allegations quickly circling the actor. The director made the bold choice to recast Spacey's role of J. Paul Getty with Christopher Plummer and reshoot portions of the film in order to make its release date. As Scott explained to THR, "It would have been a pity if the film were completely neglected because of what happened... I jumped into it immediately saying, 'I can fix this. We're going to have to recast, make sure everyone was available and the locations were available so I could go back as soon as possible and pick up every shot that [Spacey] was in."

Nearly 400 new shots were shot over nine days in both the U.K. and Italy which added $10 million to the budget. Michelle Williams and Mark Wahlberg both returned for the reshoots, which includes scenes which were entirely redone and others which simply combined the new footage with shots from the original. Cinematographer Dariusz Wolski said, "We staged them in a similar way, but we adapted a little based on the performance and the dynamic between the actors." For the most part they were fortunate enough to be able to reuse all the original locations, but Ridley Scott did turn to visual effects for a scene originally filmed in Jordan. Kevin Spacey was scrubbed from the original footage, and Christopher Plummer, through the magic of greenscreen, was added to the scene. However, it wasn't simply a matter of inserting the Plummer sequences into the finished film, as editor Claire Simpson explained that the two actors had given very different performances.

We were pressured with time, and the two gave very different performances, so it wasn't just a question of replacing [Spacey with Plummer]. The rhythm was very different, his emphasis on the dialogue was very different, and that impacted the other performances in the scene. So we decided to replace complete scenes.

One department which had it a little easier during the reshoots was the hair and makeup team, while Kevin Spacey was slathered with prosthetics in order to resemble Getty, Christopher Plummer was allowed to perform with a minimum of makeup. "We don’t look unlike each other, there wasn’t a huge amount of [makeup]," Plummer told THR. "They pushed my ears forward because he had big ears that sort of flapped. That was rather painful, I have to say, when they put something to press them forward all the time. But it did wonders, because it made me look much more like him. The suits, the costumes, everything helped." As there wasn't much time to get up to speed on just who J. Paul Getty was, Ridley Scott offered to let Christoper Plummer see the Kevin Spacey footage, 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.

Despite the whirlwind of reshooting, Plummer said that he never felt rushed. "Ridley covered it so wonderfully with his cameras that nobody waited; we did it very quickly," Plummer said. "Ridley is so quick in shoots — he only does one or two takes because he covers it so well with cameras. He knows exactly how to cut a picture. He’s the best of the old-fashioned kind of directors who really knew the cut version of a picture before they even walked onto the set. Hitchcock is a perfect example, and it was all worked out long before anyone said a word. In a sense, Ridley is the same. He’s got modern ideas, of course, and a huge imagination. I think he actually cut in his hotel room because we had to work so quickly." Plummer has scored a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his work on the film, so it seems that those were nine days well spent.

ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD will hit theaters on December 25th.

Source: THR

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