When it comes to bringing a real person to life on the big screen, J. Paul Getty is not an easy person to adapt. After all, we're talking about a billionaire oil tycoon who refused to pay the ransom for his kidnapped grandson. As such, it must have been nerve-wracking for Ridley Scott to show All The Money In The World to Gail Harris -- the woman Michelle Williams plays in the film -- but he recently told me that she approved of the work that he had done with the story. Said Scott,
You have to have the family read it. And in a way, I just wanted to say, the matriarch of the family - she's not really, but I like to think of her that way - Gail, is 82 now. They had to read it, and kind of approve it. And Gail has seen the film. And thank god she liked the movie! Thank god it's a good film. She said, 'And you resisted some of the stuff that I thought might be... you might go for it, but you didn't do that. We were treated with great respect' - which I thought that was pretty good reaction.
Sitting down with Ridley Scott and Christopher Plummer last month during the Los Angeles press day for All The Money In The World, I asked the two men about the importance of fidelity to the true story, and it was in his response that the director told me about Gail Harris' experience watching the film. Apparently she was not only on board with the script when it was first presented to her at the start of production, but also gave it the thumbs up following a screening.
Interestingly, though, it should be pointed out that the version that Gail Harris saw is not the film that audiences can now see in theaters nationwide. Instead, she actually saw it a few months back when the movie still featured Kevin Spacey as J. Paul Getty. Because of the last-minute recasting, Harris hasn't seen the Christopher Plummer version of All The Money In The World Yet, but according to Ridley Scott the situation should weirdly fix the only issue that Harris did take with the film. The director explained,
She said, 'The old boy is a little gentler than that, but I will buy what you did. Because I know you've got to make this character interesting.' And, by the way, at that point she hadn't seen [Christopher Plummer]. I was done! I was showing it. I was done. And she was in Rome, and [producer Dan Friedkin] was in Rome, so he sat with her through it. She thought it was a great film. But I think when she sees [Plummer] she's going to love it. Her comment about 'the old guy was a little a little more gentle,' it's going to hit that right on the head. I think [Plummer] got that.
Funny enough, Ridley Scott isn't the only person who thinks that Christopher Plummer brought a much softer side to J. Paul Getty than Kevin Spacey. During my interviews with both Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams, both of them told me that they had wound up changing their own performances working with Plummer because he had such a different energy.
You can watch my interview with Ridley Scott and Christopher Plummer by clicking play on the video below:
All The Money In The World -- which stars Michelle Williams, Christopher Plummer, Mark Wahlberg, Romain Duris, Charlie Plummer, and Timothy Hutton -- is in theaters now.