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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 trying to cauterize its own Spacey-sized wound, Sony Pictures is eager to preserve whatever awards and box-office hopes "All the Money in the World" might have. The fact that Spacey had a somewhat limited supporting role in the drama, which chronicles the 1973 kidnapping of John Paul Getty III, may make the job easier.

Spacey had worked less than two weeks on the film, and his role has been described as a "looming presence," secondary to stars Williams and Wahlberg. (If nothing else, replacing the 58-year-old Spacey with Plummer, who is 87 and said to be Scott's first choice from the beginning, will remove the need for the time-consuming old-age makeup that was applied to Spacey for the role.)

Still, the task of swapping out a star weeks before release is daunting. It will require new promotional materials, and tweaking of the overall awards campaign. It's also unclear if the final film could possibly be ready in time to screen for critics groups (the New York Film Critics Circle is first out of the gate with year-end awards on Nov. 30) or the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., whose Golden Globe nomination voting closes Dec. 7.

The studio is clearly banking on the skills and experience of Scott, whose directing career stretches back 40 years and includes such films as "Alien," "Blade Runner" and "Gladiator." "This is something only Ridley Scott can do," said a source close to the production.

As Oscar season begins to heat up, Sony is hoping to avoid the fate that befell the 2016 drama "Birth of a Nation." That movie saw its once-lofty Oscar hopes dashed virtually overnight when its director and star, Nate Parker, became enmeshed in a controversy over past rape allegations for which he had been acquitted.

With "All the Money in the World," one longtime Oscar consultant, who declined to speak on the record due to the sensitivity of the situation, says the film's fortunes will ultimately rest on its artistic merits.

"I think they can salvage it. To penalize an entire movie for the past indiscretions and terrible behavior of one of the many actors in the movie is unfathomable. If it's a good film, it's a good film."

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