KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:
Director Ridley Scott is replacing Kevin Spacey with Christopher Plummer in the upcoming film "All The Money In The World."
(SOUNDBITE OF THE ZOMBIES SONG, "TIME OF THE SEASON")
MCEVERS: It's about the real-life kidnapping of a 16-year-old boy, the grandson of oil tycoon J. Paul Getty. It stars Michelle Williams, Mark Wahlberg and, until this week, Kevin Spacey in the role of J. Paul Getty.
(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD")
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As character) Mr. Getty, Mr. Getty...
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #2: (As character) Mr. Getty...
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #3: (As character) How much would you pay to release your grandson if not $17 million?
KEVIN SPACEY: (As J. Paul Getty) Nothing.
MCEVERS: That's Spacey there at the end of the trailer. And this movie was supposed to premiere at a film festival next week, but Sony-TriStar Pictures pulled it citing sexual assault allegations against Kevin Spacey. And then came the news of the casting replacement. Mia Galuppo is reporting on this for The Hollywood Reporter, and she's with us now. Hi.
MIA GALUPPO: Hi.
MCEVERS: So this film was essentially done, right? Or it was ready for the premiere. How big of a deal is it to replace one actor with another? How big of a role did Spacey play in this?
GALUPPO: It is an enormous task. It's an incredibly expensive undertaking. Nobody we know has seen the movie yet, so we aren't sure how much screen time Spacey actually has in the production. What we do know is Kevin Spacey shot for eight days and that Christopher Plummer will be shooting for probably less than that time and also that Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams who co-star with Spacey in the movie are set to come back for the proposed reshoots.
MCEVERS: That sounds like it could cost some money. I mean, how expensive do you think this is going to be?
GALUPPO: There's no way to really know without knowing the number of shots, the type of scenes that he was in, the amount of VFX that was possible. If they want to do a cost-saving technique, what they could do is do a digital compositing and actually replace Spacey in the scenes with Plummer just digitally or...
GALUPPO: What would be an odd choice would be digital head replacement where you would keep Spacey's body, but you would replace his head with Plummer's...
GALUPPO: ...Which sounds like a weird Frankenstein technique, and it would be very difficult. And the VFX houses are the ones who are going to be taking on a lot of this brunt.
MCEVERS: Visual effects, right?
MCEVERS: Yeah. And what does that say that a director - someone like Ridley Scott would be making a decision based on allegations of sexual assault against Kevin Spacey?
GALUPPO: There's two sides to this. One is that there is the moral imperative where this director does not want something sullying his movie such as sexual assault. It is something that will hang over his piece of art throughout the release and into awards season where this film was being placed. The other half of it is that there is a no-tolerance policy, it seems, in Hollywood. It is a climate right now that's very much so a - having active effect on box office and on ratings and on choices made by these production companies.
With Kevin Spacey out of the project and if Ridley Scott can pull this off and actually make the release date, which is December 22, as he plans reportedly to do, it will be an incredible feat. And more so, it's the greatest publicity that this movie could ask for.
MCEVERS: Mia Galuppo of The Hollywood Reporter, thank you so much.
GALUPPO: Thank you for having me. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.