Last-minute All the Money in the World reshoots to cost millions

It's not often that the story behind the making of a movie becomes more interesting than the movie itself. But the inside story of the unexpected final month of production on Ridley Scott's All the Money in the World goes beyond interesting—it's unprecedented, and perhaps impossible, a showbiz longshot that will cost millions of dollars to pull off, according to a report by Variety

Earlier this week it was announced that Kevin Spacey, who was set to star in the movie as billionaire J. Paul Getty, would be entirely replaced in the role by actor Christopher Plummer following the public revelations of decades' worth of sexual harassment on the part of Spacey. 

The decision was made by director Ridley Scott, who urged Sony to cancel the premiere of the film that was set to take place at the American Film Institute on November 16. Instead of moving the movie's scheduled rollout on December 22 to reassess the film, Scott instead has chosen to reshoot scenes of J. Paul Getty with Plummer, all with a goal of making the previously-announced release date.

The goal, according to sources close to the production, is to have the picture completed by December 15. 

It simply cannot be stressed enough how last-minute this shift is, and how impressive it is that Scott and company are even trying. As far as the history of film is concerned, this has the feeling of a legend in the making, with Spacey's now-shelved performance sure to become an elusive pop culture curio in the future, considering how unlikely it is that the footage of him in the role will ever be released. 

Replacing him will be no easy task, and will likely cost over $10 million by the time the movie sees release. It's a significant amount of money for the production, which was produced for a budget of $40 million. Considering the highly-specific circumstances of these reshoots, it is all-but-certain that the extra costs won't be covered by insurance—making it all the more impressive that Scott and company are spending the money to do what they feel is right.

It's curious that the studio is choosing this race-to-the-finish route rather than delaying the release of the movie, but the reasons why are understandable. An upcoming television series, Trust, is also set to cover the J. Paul Getty III kidnapping story—and that premieres in January. In rushing to finish the movie by December, Sony is likely trying to keep its lead on the subject matter. 

The reshoots, Variety notes, are expected to take eight to 10 days to film on their own. But the real challenge will be inserting the new performance into the movie. Though co-stars Michelle Williams and Mark Wahlberg are on-board to participate in the reshoots, it's possible that Plummer will film many of his scenes against a green screen, being inserted digitally into existing footage—a technical challenge that comes with significant risk and immense cost.

When all is said and done, it's possible that Spacey's removal and Plummer's inclusion will make All the Money in the World far more notorious and noteworthy than it would have been in its original version, not that this is likely to be a comfort while the filmmakers rush to get it done. 

Regardless of how it all shakes out, audiences will have a chance to see how well the quick-fix worked when All the Money in the World premieres in the US on December 22. For the only look you're going to get at Kevin Spacey in the movie, check out the already-obsolete trailer for the film right here.