The upcoming Ridley Scott film All the Money in the World has been receiving a lot of press recently for all the wrong reasons. But it’s not the subject matter that’s raising eyebrows, it’s the studio’s decision to reshoot the film with a different actor after sexual misconduct allegations were levelled against the star, Kevin Spacey.
Credit: TriStar Pictures
Christopher Plummer was brought in at the last minute to replace Spacey to play Jean Paul Getty Snr – who was once the richest man in America. While it has been a pretty scandalous story – it’s nothing compared to the actual account of what inspired the film in the first place.
J. Paul Getty founded the Getty Oil Company, was an avid art collector and, despite his vast fortune, was incredibly frugal with money. But when his 16-year-old grandson was kidnapped in Rome by members of the Ndrangheta crim syndicate in 1973 – that’s when his actions really turned heads.
The ransom for John Paul Getty III’s safe return was a whopping $17 million (which equates to roughly $94.3 million/£70 million today). But Getty Snr was suspicious of the request because his grandson reportedly had joked about getting kidnapped just to rinse him for his cash.
So he rejected the ransom – stating: “If I pay one penny now, I’ll have 14 kidnapped grandchildren.”
Several months later, an envelope was sent to a daily newspaper containing a lock of Getty Jnr’s hair and his fucking ear. Along with the body parts, a note said: “This is Paul’s ear. If we don’t get some money within 10 days, then the other ear will arrive. In other words, he will arrive in little bits.”
Unfortunately, due to an Italian postal strike, the note wasn’t received until three weeks after posting. This time they were asking for $3.2 million ($17.7 million/£13.1 million in 2017) and then knocked $200,000 off the request – but that was as low as they were willing to go.
Being a negotiating badass, the Getty patriarch refused again and said the highest he would go would be $2.2 million ($12.2 million/£9 million in 2017) because that was the maximum that could be tax deductible.
He then loaned the remainder to his son and put a 4 percent interest for him to pay back.
Savage grandad, fucking savage.
Getty III was eventually found in an abandoned petrol station and when he phoned his grandad to say thank you, Getty Snr refused to come to the phone.
Nine of the kidnappers were arrested but only two were convicted with the others being released due to a lack of evidence.
But the young man was deeply affected by the experience and developed a drug and alcohol addiction – culminating in an overdose at the age of 24. The toxic cocktail of Valium, methadone, and booze caused liver failure and a stroke, which left him a quadriplegic and partially blind.
His mum, Gail, cared for him for much of his life and he died in 2011 in Wormsley, Buckinghamshire, England.
The movie All the Money in the World will detail this incredible story when it’s released on December 22 – providing all the post-production work to replace Kevin Spacey is done on time.
Featured Image Credit: TriStar Pictures