LOS ANGELES - In a wholly unprecedented move, Kevin Spacey is being cut from Ridley Scott’s finished film “All the Money in the World” and replaced by Christopher Plummer just over one month before it is supposed to hit theaters.
People close to the production who were not authorized to speak publicly said Wednesday that Plummer is commencing re-shoots immediately in the role of J. Paul Getty. All of Spacey’s scenes will be reshot, the people told The Associated Press. Co-stars Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams are expected to participate.
Scott, who is known to be an efficient director, is intending to keep the film’s Dec. 22 release date.
The director’s publicist Simon Halls confirmed the switch late Wednesday.
The film was originally set to have its world premiere at the AFI Fest in Los Angeles on Nov. 16 but was pulled earlier this week amid the sexual harassment reports surrounding Spacey, who has also been fired from “House of Cards” and dropped by his talent agency and publicist.
“All the Money in the World” was primed for a plush awards season release from distributor Sony Pictures Entertainment and its advertising campaign, which prominently features Spacey, has been public for about a month already. But its plans have been in question since Spacey’s reputation has diminished over the past week with harassment allegations growing daily.
The film chronicles the events surrounding the kidnapping of 16-year-old John Paul Getty III and his mother’s attempt to convince J. Paul Getty, his billionaire grandfather, to pay the ransom.
The 87-year-old Plummer was reportedly Scott’s first choice for the role of J. Paul Getty, but the director was pressured into casting a bigger name. Plummer is probably best known for “The Sound of Music.” He won his first Oscar in 2012 for the film “Beginners.”
One of the people close to the production said that Scott’s plan caught Sony by surprise, but the studio is supporting the switch.
The unprecedented decision came hours after a former TV news anchor said Spacey sexually assaulted her teenage son last year at a Nantucket restaurant.
Heather Unruh said her son, who was 18 at the time, was “star-struck” during a chance encounter with Spacey at Club Car Restaurant’s crowded bar in July 2016. Unruh said Spacey bought her son “drink after drink” and then stuck his hand down the drunk teen’s pants and grabbed his genitals.
Unruh said her son panicked and froze while Spacey insisted he come with him to a private after-hours party to drink with him more.
Spacey ultimately left to use the bathroom, and the teen ran away at the urging of a nearby woman who could tell he was shaken, Unruh said. Unruh’s son ran back to his grandmother’s house, woke up his sister and called his mother, who joined them in Nantucket the next day, she said.
Unruh said her son didn’t report the assault at the time because he was embarrassed and scared. Her family was emboldened to come forward now that others have gone public with allegations of sexual misconduct against Spacey and other celebrities, she said.
“To Kevin Spacey, I want to say this: Shame on you for what you did to my son,” Unruh said, flanked by her daughter and lawyer Mitchell Garabedian, who has represented hundreds of clergy sexual abuse victims.
Spacey’s former publicist said last week that the actor is “taking the time necessary to seek evaluation and treatment.”
Spacey is one of the biggest names to lose work and standing in Hollywood since The New York Times and The New Yorker detailed sexual harassment and abuse allegations against film mogul Harvey Weinstein last month. Weinstein has hired two criminal defense attorneys to handle a New York police investigation into actress Paz de la Huerta’s claims the mogul raped her twice in 2010, his representatives said Wednesday.
The trade website Deadline reported Wednesday that Amazon Studios is investigating harassment claims against Jeffrey Tambor, the Emmy-winning star of its “Transparent” series. Tambor denied the allegations in a statement to Deadline.
Los Angeles police also on Wednesday confirmed they are investigating actor Corey Feldman’s claims he was sexually abused as a teenage actor.
Numerous police investigations are ongoing into alleged conduct by Weinstein and Spacey. Police in Beverly Hills, California, Los Angeles, London and New York are investigating Weinstein.
Unruh said the teen filed a report with police last week, and she said a criminal investigation has begun. She said her son has turned over evidence to authorities, but her attorney said they could not elaborate on what he provided.
Unruh said her son had never met Spacey before the encounter, and Garabedian said they don’t know why Spacey was on the island at the time.
She said her son continues to struggle with the emotional effects of the encounter. The teen, who was not named during the press conference, asked her to speak publicly on his behalf, she said.
“He’s committed to doing what he can to stop Kevin Spacey from victimizing anyone else,” she said.
Since actor Anthony Rapp first went public with accusations against Spacey late last month, several other men have come forward with stories of harassment and assault.
The mounting allegations caused Netflix to cut ties with the actor and suspend production on its sixth season indefinitely. The company also scuttled its Gore Vidal biopic, with Spacey starring as the author.
In a recent interview with BuzzFeed, Rapp said Spacey made sexual advances on him during a party in 1986, when he was 14. At the end of the night, an inebriated Spacey picked him up, placed him on his bed and climbed on top of him, Rapp said. Rapp said then-26-year-old Spacey was holding him down tightly, but he was able to get away and left the apartment.
The two-time Academy Award winner has said he doesn’t remember the encounter but apologized if such “drunken behavior” occurred.
Harry Dreyfuss, the son of actor Richard Dreyfuss, also has said that Spacey groped him in 2008 when he was 18 while his father was rehearsing a play at Spacey’s London apartment.
London police said have also said have begun investigating an alleged 2008 sexual assault reportedly linked to Spacey.