In All the Money in the World, Michelle Williams (The Greatest Showman) plays Abigail Harris, mother of John Paul Getty III, the teenage heir to the Getty empire who is kidnapped by ruthless gangsters in Italy and held for $17 million in ransom. Abigail — who left behind any claim to the Getty fortune when she divorced her husband — expects her former father-in-law, billionaire John Paul Getty, to pay the ransom…and is shocked into action when he refuses.
The strong, determined Harris provides the emotional core of the film, which was directed by Ridley Scott, and part of Williams’ desire to do the movie stemmed from the opportunity to work with the legendary director, as she told us: “What you get with somebody like Ridley is you can trust them…when they feel like they have (the scene), you can sort of say, ‘Okay, I’ll defer to you. I’ll pause on this, I’ll rest on this if you feel like you have it, because you’ve been around, you know what you want.’ And he makes decisions very quickly and he works very quickly, and it’s very exciting to work at that speed.”
Williams, Scott and the rest of the cast and crew might have set a new production record, in fact, when Scott reshot substantial portions of the story in just nine days to replace alleged sexual predator Kevin Spacey with Christopher Plummer in the pivotal role of the elder Getty. For Williams, the decision to overhaul the movie came as a relief.
“It was an expensive action for our financier to take,” she says. “It was an easy action for me to take, because it felt like the right thing to do. I know that for me, if I had been in the movie as it had stood and we hadn’t been allowed to reshoot, it would have felt tainted and something to be shy of — something to just forget about entirely. Because it’s upsetting to watch someone who has done these things, it’s upsetting to watch them glorified. It’s upsetting to watch them huge. So I would have just wanted to erase this whole thing. This experience for me was an amazing opportunity and a big deal, and I would have just wanted to pretend like it never happened.”
Young actor Charlie Plummer (no relation to Christopher), who plays the kidnapped John Paul Getty III in the movie, also says he’s solidly behind the choice to reshoot:
“I’m in complete support of it,” Plummer says, even though he himself was not involved in the revised scenes. “It went from being a film I thought no one would see to now a film that I hope a lot of people will see, and I think should see.”
Plummer also admits that he knew very little about the Getty kidnapping or the Getty family before getting the role in the movie: “I had heard very briefly about the story and the people involved, but after I read the script, that was really my introduction to the story and once I got the part, I tried to do as much research as I could on the family and John Paul Getty III.
“He had an interesting life, throughout his life,” says Plummer about the heir to the Getty fortune, whose problems continued even after the kidnapping. “This is a guy who was 16 and hanging out with Andy Warhol and Mick Jagger, and then this kidnapping happened, and after he was kidnapped, he became a model and continued to hang out with all these famous people. And then he overdosed when he was 23 and was a quadriplegic for the rest of his life…he’s just a fascinating person.”
All the Money in the World is in theaters now.