Ridley Scott is a filmmaker with whom I have a tricky relationship. He’s responsible for some of the most iconic and enduring science fiction films of all time in Alien and Blade Runner, and I loved his more recent effort The Martian. Over the last decade or so, though, he’s taken after George Lucas and diminished the mystique of his earlier work through world-shrinking prequels and revisited director’s cuts. There’s no denying, though, that the man is a machine. At almost 80 years old, he’s still cranking out at least one new film every 12-18 months and is showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, in the wake of the Kevin Spacey scandal, he’s still preparing to release his second film of 2017 in defiance of overwhelming odds. From Deadline:
In an unprecedented bold move, director Ridley Scott, along with Imperative Entertainment’s Dan Friedkin and Bradley Thomas have decided to remove Kevin Spacey from their finished movie All The Money In The World. Christopher Plummer has been set to replace Spacey in the role of J Paul Getty. Re-shoots of the key scenes are expected to commence immediately. Scott is also determined to to keep the film’s December 22 release date.
To be clear, that’s the December 22 that’s about six weeks away. Once a sign of a troubled production, reshoots are now a common practice (Marvel projects have additional filming built into their schedules from the very beginning), but this is nonetheless a wild and unique situation. Given that Spacey’s part in All The Money In The World is apparently fairly small, the decision to replace him with Christopher Plummer isn’t all that surprising, and there would be absolutely no shame in delaying the film’s release to accommodate this more comfortable. Scott doesn’t seem to give a solitary shit about comfort, though, and appears to be willing to do whatever it takes to hit his original release date. Having directed and worked on multiple short films of my own, even my minuscule experience is enough to know that filmmaking is really, really difficult at the best of times. Reassembling the cast and crew of the film to reshoot a small but significant chunk of a film weeks away from its release is a huge undertaking, but Scott has proven himself to be nothing if not efficient.
Beyond Ridley Scott’s crazy work ethic and possible insanity, I’m glad that Spacey isn’t taking this film down with him. The wellbeing of Spacey’s victims must be the first priority, but they’re not the only ones affected by his actions. Many more people are involved in making a film or show than its star, and it’s not right that the hard work of hundreds of cast and crew members should go to waste because of Spacey’s perverse conduct. House of Cards will have a harder time completing its final season — they can’t exactly just recast Spacey with Christopher Plummer too — but with Robin Wright as their secret weapon, I hope they’re able to find as elegant a solution as possible to ensure that their livelihoods and years of their work don’t go up in smoke with Spacey’s reputation.