It’s hard to watch the new movie All the Money in the World and imagine anyone other than Christopher Plummer in the role of John Paul Getty, the emotionally absent and ruthless “richest man in the world” whose grandson is kidnapped and loses an ear.
That’s how much Plummer resembles the real-life Getty. He embodies the character, and the portrayal is all the more extraordinary because he was asked to do it so fast, stepping in just six weeks before the movie appeared in the theaters. As most people know, Kevin Spacey was originally cast as Getty, but his scenes were redone by Plummer at warp speed after he became embroiled in a series of troubling sexual misconduct accusations. It turns out that the director, Ridley Scott, wanted Plummer to play Getty in the first place, but the studio wanted a higher profile actor.
All of that has a lot of moviegoers wondering what Spacey’s take on the character was and how he looked as J. Paul Getty. Although we’re unlikely to ever see the full footage of Spacey as Getty in All the Money in the World, the movie’s trailer had already been released before the movie was suddenly recast. Although Spacey doesn’t appear until the end of the trailer, it gives us a sense of how the actor played and looked as John Paul Getty. Frankly, it required a lot of makeup to transform Spacey into the mercurial, isolated billionaire, whereas Plummer naturally looks a lot like the real-life man did.
Here’s the original trailer with Spacey:
Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the film’s trailers with Spacey and without:
There’s a shot of Spacey as Getty in this interview with the director and actors on what happened with the film.
Business Insider notes that Spacey-as-Getty still appears in one scene in the movie. According to CinemaBlend, film critic Jeff Wells first “noticed a single shot of Kevin Spacey’s J. Paul Getty in an All the Money in the World screening, to which Ridley Scott responded, ‘Good catch.’ For those worried about continuity issues, this particular shot wasn’t a close-up of Getty’s face.” Spacey appears in a scene in the desert where the character has a meeting about oil.
Here’s a photo of the real-life John Paul Getty:
Here’s a photo of Christopher Plummer as he appeared at the premiere of All the Money in the World in December 2017:
The film follows the real-life story of the kidnapping of one of J. Paul Getty’s 14 grandchildren, John Paul Getty III, known as Paul. Be aware that spoilers are forthcoming.
A ring of petty Italian criminals snatched the teenage grandson of the isolated billionaire and held him for a ransom that his grandfather at first refused to pay. With the boy’s father, John Paul Getty Jr. involved in a wayward life of drugs, it’s left to his mother, Gail, to take charge of the efforts to get the boy’s release. As in real life, the grandfather initially balked at paying any ransom, eventually ponying up a small portion of the original demand after learning that it was tax deductible. The movie is less a crime drama than a character study; the reclusive Getty Sr. had all the money in the world, but he related more to objects than people. In the end, the boy is returned after the kidnappers sliced off his ear, although Paul Getty, the grandson, would go on to lead a life full of continuing tragedy.