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The stunning collapse of Kevin Spacey's house of cards

Josh Rottenberg and Yvonne Villarreal, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

In early October, Kevin Spacey was right where he wanted to be: singing and hamming it up in front of an admiring crowd.

Inside Stage 33 on the CBS Television City lot in Los Angeles, a TV special celebrating the 50th anniversary of "The Carol Burnett Show" was being taped in front of a live audience, and Spacey was on hand as a guest star.

Decked out in a tuxedo, the star of stage, screen and television joined Burnett, Bernadette Peters and Kristin Chenoweth as they sang songs around a piano. He dusted off a Bing Crosby impression and entertained the crowd between takes with his Johnny Carson. The 84-year-old Burnett introduced him as "an Oscar-winning guy and everyone's favorite president."

That was then.

By early November, Spacey's career was in free fall amid mounting allegations of sexual harassment and assault that stretched back decades and, in multiple cases, involved minors. Netflix, CBS and Sony were all scrambling to distance themselves from him as quickly as possible, even if it meant shutting down production. In a matter of days, a man who has won two Academy Awards and a Tony Award and been nominated for 12 Emmys was being all but erased from Hollywood. Literally.

On Wednesday, in a move that stunned longtime industry observers, Sony Pictures confirmed that the actor was being dropped from his role as J. Paul Getty in director Ridley Scott's thriller "All the Money in the World."

The film, which had been scheduled to close AFI Fest next week, was only recently completed and remains slated to open on Dec. 22, right in the heart of Oscar season. Plans were in place for Spacey to receive a supporting actor awards campaign.

First Sony pulled the film from the festival, now actor Christopher Plummer is stepping in to replace Spacey, as the production scrambles at considerable expense, and inconvenience to co-stars Michelle Williams and Mark Wahlberg, to reshoot Spacey's scenes in the hopes that the film can still make its release date.

Occasionally roles have been recast during filming, but usually because the original actor died; to do so because of scandal after a film was already completed is unprecedented.

But so is Spacey's catastrophic plummet from grace. After stories in the New York Times and the New Yorker chronicled accusations of sexual harassment and abuse, many projects sought distance from Harvey Weinstein's company and his name.

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