In what seems to be an unprecedented move, director Ridley Scott is replacing Kevin Spacey with Christopher Plummer in the upcoming film All The Money In The World, just weeks before its scheduled December 22 release. The movie tells the real-life story of the kidnapping of John Paul Getty III, and how his billionaire grandfather (played by Spacey) was reluctant to pay the ransom.
The recasting news comes after the studio’s decision to pull All The Money In The World from the AFI Festival due to the sexual assault and harassment allegations that have been made against Spacey in recent weeks. But instead of quietly burying the film (which was considered a potential Oscar contender before the scandal broke), Scott is taking on the challenge of reshooting all of Spacey’s scenes with Plummer and co-stars Michelle Williams and Mark Wahlberg. Scott will reportedly begin reshoots immediately, but it is not clear yet how he plans to pull off the switch, whether he will completely re-stage complicated location shots or use visual effects to place Plummer in existing footage–or both.
Making significant changes to a movie that’s already in the can is a logistical nightmare in and of itself. But All The Money In The World will also have to be re-marketed–not just distributing new trailers and posters, but also rebranding the film that has been tarnished by the accusations against Spacey. Even then, it’s not certain that erasing the disgraced actor will be enough for audiences to get past the sordid drama and give the movie a chance.