All the Money in the World
All the Money in the World is a 2017 British-American crime thriller film directed by Ridley Scott and written by David Scarpa, based on John Pearson’s 1995 book Painfully Rich: The Outrageous Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Heirs of J. Paul Getty. The film stars Michelle Williams, Christopher Plummer, Mark Wahlberg, and Romain Duris. The film depicts J. Paul Getty’s refusal to cooperate with the extortion demands of a group of kidnappers from the organized crime Mafia group ‘Ndrangheta, who abducted his grandson John Paul Getty III in 1973.
Kevin Spacey originally portrayed J. Paul Getty, appearing in the film’s initial marketing campaign. However, after multiple sexual misconduct allegations were leveled against Spacey, the role was recast with Plummer. Scenes were reshot just a month later prior to the film’s release.
All the Money in the World premiered at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills on December 18, 2017, followed by a United States theatrical release via TriStar Pictures on December 25, 2017; it grossed $57 million against its $50 million budget. For his performance as Getty, Christopher Plummer received acclaim from critics and earned nominations from the Academy Awards, Golden Globes and BAFTAs, among others. The film itself received positive reviews with critics praising the performances, and received three nominations at the 75th Golden Globe Awards, including Best Director and Best Actress – Drama for Williams.
- 1 Plot
- 2 Cast
- 3 Production
- 3.1 Development
- 3.2 Casting
- 3.3 Initial filming
- 3.4 Recasting of J. Paul Getty
- 4 Release
- 5 Reception
- 5.1 Box office
- 5.2 Critical response
- 5.3 Accolades
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
In 1973, 16-year-old John Paul Getty III (AKA Paul), grandson of oil tycoon J. Paul Getty who was at that time the world’s richest private citizen, is kidnapped in Rome by an organized crime ring. The kidnappers demand a ransom of $17 million. Flashbacks show that Paul’s parents, Gail Harris and John Paul Getty Jr., were divorced in 1971 due to Getty Jr.’s drug addiction and that Gail rejected any alimony in exchange for full custody of her children in the divorce settlement; therefore she does not have the means to pay the ransom. She travels to Getty’s estate to beseech him to pay the ransom but he refuses, stating that it would encourage further kidnappings on his family members. The media picks up on the story, with many believing Gail to be rich herself and blaming her for the refusal to pay the ransom. Meanwhile, Getty asks Fletcher Chace, a Getty Oil negotiator and former CIA operative, to investigate the case and secure Paul’s release.
Paul is kept hostage in a remote location in Italy. Initially his captors, particularly Cinquanta, are tolerant with him because his quiet and submissive demeanor causes them few problems. However, things grow increasingly tense as weeks go by without the ransom being paid, far longer than the captors anticipated. Arguments arise over whether to move Paul to a new location as winter is approaching and their hideout is not suitable for cold conditions. Things get worse when one of the kidnappers accidentally shows his face to Paul, prompting one of the others to kill the man for his foolish mistake. His burned and disfigured body is recovered in the river; investigators erroneously identify the body as Paul’s, but Gail examines the body and refutes this.
Using the new lead of the body, Chace is able to pinpoint the hideout where Paul is being held. A raid is conducted with several kidnappers being killed, but Paul is no longer there; he had been sold on to a new crime organization. The new captors are much less patient with Paul and negotiate more aggressively with the Getty family to receive their payment. After repeated negotiations with Gail and Chace, and frustration from the captors at how long the process was taking, they lower the asking price to $4 million. Getty finally decides to contribute to the ransom, but only $1 million – this being the maximum amount that he can claim as tax deductible. Moreover, he also will only do so if Gail signs a legal document waiving her parental access rights to Paul and her other children, giving them to Getty’s son, her ex-husband. She reluctantly signs them.
The kidnappers cut off one of Paul’s ears and mail it to a major newspaper, claiming that they will continue mutilating him until the ransom is paid. Berated by an exasperated Chace, Getty finally relents and agrees to pay the full ransom, also voiding the parental agreement with Gail. Gail and Chace take the money to Italy and follow specific instructions from the captors, leaving the money in a remote location and receiving orders to pick up Paul from a construction site. However, a frightened Paul runs away from the site towards the nearest town, miles away. Meanwhile the captors realize that Chace has broken his word and led the police to them; angry, they decide to find and kill Paul. Chace, Gail, and the captors arrive at the town to look for Paul. One of the kidnappers finds Paul first, but Cinquanta attacks the man in order to allow Paul to escape. Chace and Gail find Paul and smuggle him out of the country to safety.
Getty dies of unrelated causes, and Gail is tasked with managing her children’s inherited wealth until they are of age. The company was set up as a charitable trust, which meant that Getty’s income was tax-free but also not spendable. He had invested much of it in paintings, sculptures and other artifacts, most of them now reside in the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.
- Michelle Williams as Gail Harris, Getty III’s mother.
- Christopher Plummer as J. Paul Getty, Getty III’s grandfather.
- Mark Wahlberg as Fletcher Chace, Gail and Getty’s adviser and former CIA operative.
- Romain Duris as Cinquanta, one of Getty lll’s abductors.
- Timothy Hutton as Oswald Hinge, Getty’s attorney.
- Charlie Plummer as John Paul Getty III, John Paul’s grandson.
- Charlie Shotwell as Young John Paul Getty III
- Andrew Buchan as John Paul Getty Jr., Getty’s son.
- Marco Leonardi as Mammoliti, one of Getty III’s abductors and Cinquanta’s boss.
- Giuseppe Bonifati as Giovanni Iacovoni, Gail’s attorney.
- Nicolas Vaporidis as Il Tamia “Chipmunk”, Getty III’s abductor.
- Ghassan Massoud as an Arab Sheikh.
- Stacy Martin as J. Paul Getty’s secretary.
- Kit Cranston as Young Mark Getty – Age 4
- Maya Kelly as Young Aileen Getty – Age 6
- Clive Wood as Bullimore
On March 13, 2017, it was reported that Ridley Scott was finalizing plans to direct the David Scarpa-scripted All the Money in the World, a film about the kidnapping of John Paul Getty III. Scott stated that he was attracted to the project because of Scarpa’s script, adding “I just consumed it […] I knew about the kidnapping, but this story was very, very provocative… Gail Getty was an exceptional character, and there are many facets of the man Getty that make him a really great study. There’s this great dynamic. It was like a play, and not a movie.”
Natalie Portman was initially pursued for the role of Gail Harris. On March 31, 2017, it was reported that Michelle Williams and Kevin Spacey were circling the roles of Harris and J. Paul Getty, respectively, while Mark Wahlberg was in talks for an unspecified role. On casting Spacey, Scott stated, “When I read the script, I started thinking, ‘Who was Paul Getty?’ In my mind, I saw Kevin Spacey. Kevin’s a brilliant actor, but I’ve never worked with him, and I always knew I would have to have him portray Getty in this film […] He was so obsessed with what he was doing […] He wasn’t giving people a second thought.” In regards to Williams, Scott stated that while she was not his first choice, “Michelle is very special as an actress, and I’ve never done anything with her before […] The family was very private and there was very little footage of [Gail], but around the kidnapping, there was one particular interview she did that Michelle jumped at, and it shows Gail Getty being very assertive, very smart,” both qualities Williams possessed. On May 2, Charlie Plummer joined the cast as John Paul Getty III. Timothy Hutton was added to the cast on June 16.
On May 31, 2017, it was reported that All the Money in the World had begun principal photography. Filming continued at Elveden Hall in west Suffolk for a week at the end of July. The aristocratic Grade II-listed stately home was used to represent a Moroccan palace in the filming of a series of flashback scenes. Kevin Spacey worked for just ten days on the film. The original production reportedly concluded in August.
Recasting of J. Paul Getty
Kevin Spacey (top) as J. Paul Getty in a screenshot released from the film, before his scenes in the role were re-shot with Christopher Plummer.
In late October, numerous sexual harassment and sexual assault allegations were made against Spacey, who played J. Paul Getty in the film. The film’s premiere at the AFI Fest on November 16 was cancelled, and its Academy Awards campaign – which focused on Spacey’s supporting role – was reworked.
On November 8, it was announced that although the film was otherwise ready for release, reshoots had been commissioned to replace Spacey with Christopher Plummer in the role of Getty. Despite his earlier statements to the contrary, Scott claimed that Plummer had been his original choice for the role, and that studio executives had persuaded him to cast the “bigger name” Spacey. Spacey still appears in one wide shot that would have been too expensive or complex to reshoot within the release deadline; the scene features Getty disembarking from a train in the desert, and Spacey’s face is not visible.
Reshoots with Plummer began on November 20 and ended on the 29th, with the first footage of him in the role released in a new trailer the same day. The decision cost millions of dollars in rush fees, among other costs, to meet the film’s late-December release. The reshoots ended up costing $10 million, making the final production cost of the film $50 million.
While it was initially reported that the actors filmed the reshoots for free, it was later revealed that Wahlberg was paid $1.5 million while Williams only received $80 in per diems, as she was contractually obligated to appear in reshoots, while Wahlberg was not. Wahlberg’s fee for the original shooting is alleged by The Hollywood Reporter to have been $5 million, while Michelle Williams is reported to have been paid $625,000. The New York Times has reported that Wahlberg was paid 80% less than his usual fee. The $1.5 million Wahlberg received for reshoots was in addition to this. Wahlberg’s contract allowed him to approve co-stars, and he reportedly refused to approve Plummer as Spacey’s replacement unless he was paid extra. In response to the backlash brought on by the difference in the actors’ pay, Wahlberg announced he would donate the $1.5 million to the Time’s Up movement in Williams’ name.
The film premiered at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, California on December 18, 2017. In the United States, the film was originally slated for a release on December 22, 2017, but two weeks before its debut, it was pushed to December 25, to avoid competition with Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
All the Money in the World grossed $25.1 million in the United States and Canada and $31.8 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $56.9 million, against a production budget of $50 million.
On Christmas Day, the film’s opening day, it grossed $2.6 million from 2,068 theaters. In its first full weekend the film made $5.4 million from 2,074 theaters, finishing 7th at the box office. In its second weekend the film made $3.6 million, dropping 36% and finishing 10th.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 77% based on 207 reviews, with an average rating of 6.9/10. The site’s critical consensus reads, “All the Money in the World offers an absorbing portrayal of a true story, brought compellingly to life by a powerful performance from Christopher Plummer.” On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 72 out of 100, based on 47 critics, indicating “generally favorable reviews”. Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of “B” on an A+ to F scale.
Writing for The Hollywood Reporter, Todd McCarthy said, “[Scott and Plummer] show what they’re made of in All the Money in the World, a terrifically dexterous and detailed thriller about the Italian mob’s 1973 kidnapping for ransom of the grandson of the world’s richest man, John Paul Getty [sic].” Matt Zoller Seitz of RogerEbert.com gave the film three out of four stars, commending it as a whole despite criticizing the middle section as repetitive, and the character of J. Paul Getty being “repugnant” without proper context. He stated that “The film is also a testament to the awesome work ethic of its 80-year old but still apparently tireless director, who fired Kevin Spacey…. they’re worth noting because the end product is much better than anyone could have expected, considering the challenges faced and met by all involved.”
Writing for New York magazine, David Edelstein gave a strong review for the performance of Michelle Williams in the film, stating: “My guess is that there was one overriding factor in Scott’s decision to rebuild sets and summon back his actors (after the Spacey controversy): The fear that Spacey’s presence would distract the world (which includes Oscar voters) from the marvelous performance of Michelle Williams as Gail. It’s a real transformation. I’ve never heard this diction from her before — sharp, with a hint of North Shore (i.e., old money) Long Island and perhaps a Kennedy or two. (The real Gail grew up in San Francisco but was well acquainted with the cadences of the East Coast rich.) Through the tension in her body and intensity of her voice, Williams conveys not just the terror of losing a son but the tragic absurdity of bearing the illustrious name Getty when family ties confer zero power.”
- Trust (directed by Danny Boyle), a 2018 FX television series starring Donald Sutherland as J. Paul Getty, Hilary Swank as Gail Getty, and Brendan Fraser as James Fletcher Chace.
- All the Money in the World on IMDb
- All the Money in the World at AllMovie
- All the Money in the World at Box Office Mojo
- All the Money in the World at Metacritic
- All the Money in the World at Rotten Tomatoes