Hollywood is facing a long-overdue campaign of housecleaning at the moment, as decades-worth of accusations of sexual harassment and assault against powerful men are finally coming to light (and actually being listened to, for once). This sweeping out of the alleged bums has had any number of knock-on effects in the industry, as studios and TV productions race to patch up holes left by stars and producers who’ve now been given the boot. One of the most dramatic of these patch-jobs has been the one centered on Ridley Scott’s All The Money In The World, which faced a serious conundrum when its star, Kevin Spacey, was accused of multiple accounts of harassment and assault of young men, less than two months before it was set to hit theaters, and after the movie had already finished filming.
Instead of pulling the movie or attempting to weather the storm, though, Scott went for the Hail Mary option: firing Spacey, recasting the role of oil tycoon J. Paul Getty with Christopher Plummer, bringing back Michelle Williams and Mark Wahlberg for extensive reshoots, and pledging to still get the film out in time. Today, Entertainment Weekly has a short interview with the director about his decision, his (non-) relationship with Spacey, and his hopes going forward. The candid piece opens with the first, most basic question: What was Scott’s reaction when he heard the news?
I was finished with the film and was in [U.K. recording studio] Abbey Road finalizing the music. Someone was like: Guess what? And that’s where it began. I sat and thought about it and realized, we cannot. You can’t tolerate any kind of behavior like that. And it will affect the film. We cannot let one person’s action affect the good work of all these other people. It’s that simple.
Somewhat fittingly for a guy who still makes at least one movie almost every year, despite the fact that he’s pushing 80, Scott seems to have taken the whole ordeal as a sort of fun film-making challenge. Describing Sony’s reaction to his choice, Scott said, “They were like, ‘You’ll never do it. God be with you,’” adding a “Fucking right” when asked to confirm that the studio was still holding the film’s Dec. 22 release date for him, and that he had every expectation of hitting his goal.
Speaking of Spacey, Scott calls him “a very talented man” and notes that he never saw any untoward behavior on his set. He also said he doesn’t even slightly regret kicking him off the film, though; when asked about the wider scandals breaking at the moment, he responded by saying, “I think it was about time. Harvey [Weinstein] definitely was way overdue. There will still be a few more people out there gritting their teeth who are way overdue.”
Meanwhile, Scott—ever a bit of a showman—also admitted that this pell-mell dash for a release date amid controversy probably won’t be, like, awful for the kidnapping thriller’s box office chances this Christmas. Asked about the way the story is generating interest in the historical drama, Scott responded, “Correct. I didn’t do it for that reason, but it never left my mind.”