EXCLUSIVE, updated with AFI Fest statement: Ridley Scott’s All the Money in the World, the movie about the true-life kidnapping of John Paul Getty’s grandson that stars Kevin Spacey as the billionaire industrialist, has been pulled from the prestige closing-night slot at AFI Fest.
The move amid the widening scandal involving Spacey seemed likely Friday, but the film’s financiers at Imperative Entertainment and especially director Ridley Scott didn’t want the cast and crew who worked on the film to be punished. Other possibilities considered included going ahead with the AFI Fest premiere but not having the cast walk the red carpet, where they invariably would have been asked about Spacey.
Ultimately, the movie’s team met this morning and made the decision to pull the film from the festival, which runs November 9-16. Sony/TriStar will keep the movie’s December 22 theatrical release date where it is.
“All the Money in the World is a superb film and more than worthy of its place of honor in the AFI Fest,” TriStar Pictures said just now. “But given the current allegations surrounding one of its actors and out of respect for those impacted, it would be inappropriate to celebrate at a gala at this difficult time. Accordingly, the film will be withdrawn.
“However, a film is not the work of one person. There are over 800 other actors, writers, artists, craftspeople and crew who worked tirelessly and ethically on this film, some for years, including one of cinema’s master directors. It would be a gross injustice to punish all of them for the wrongdoings of one supporting actor in the film. Accordingly, the film will open wide as planned on December 22.”
AFI Fest also issued a statement about the move: “AFI Fest celebrates film as a collaborative art form. We support Sony’s decision to postpone the premiere in order to ensure the thousands of people who worked together on this film are honored at a proper time and in a proper light.”
The pic, expected to be a potential awards-season contender, had been set to world premiere in the AFI slot that launched The Big Short to multiple Oscar noms and an Adapted Screenplay win two years ago. That was before allegations came to light in BuzzFeed on October 30 about Spacey and alleged sexual misconduct involving then-14-year-old actor Anthony Rapp. Numerous others have come forward and Spacey’s fall from grace has been precipitous. Spacey’s Emmy-nominated Netflix series House of Cards and its production company Media Rights Capital announced it would end the show after the conclusion of its current Season 6, which then was halted during production. Spacey, who was dropped by his agents at CAA and his publicist, was officially fired Friday.
Continuing the film’s festival path would have created an awkward situation for Scott and Spacey’s co-stars Michelle Williams, Mark Wahlberg and Charlie Plummer, who would walk those red carpets all the way up until the release date in the Christmas corridor.
All the Money in the World also pulled out of a scheduled presentation at Deadline’s The Contenders awards-season event on Saturday.
Penned by David Scarpa based on John Pearson’s book, the film follows the 1973 kidnapping of 16-year-old John Paul Getty III (Plummer) and the desperate attempt by his devoted mother Gail (Williams) to convince his billionaire grandfather (Spacey) to pay the ransom. Getty Sr. refuses, arguing that he would be putting a bounty on the heads of of all his grandchildren if he paid the money. As the kidnappers become increasingly volatile and brutal, Gail and Getty’s adviser (Wahlberg) become unlikely allies in the race against time that ultimately reveals the true and lasting value of love over money.
While Spacey only worked on the film for around 10 days, his is an indelible image as the steely Getty Sr.