All the Money in the World, Ridley Scott's new movie about the 1973 kidnapping of John Paul Getty III, is no stranger to controversy. In November, one of the film's stars, Kevin Spacey, was dropped from the project amid multiple allegations of sexual assault. Almost immediately, Christopher Plummer was recast in the role of oil tycoon J. Paul Getty. Despite the upheaval, the film is still slated to open on Christmas day.
The movie itself explores a dark and divisive subject: The Getty family's response to the tragic kidnapping and ransom of 16-year-old John Paul Getty III. The film depicts the struggle his mother Gail (played in the film by Michelle Williams) faced as she tried to convince his grandfather (played by Plummer) to pay the ransom. Getty III was held by the kidnappers in the mountains of Calabria, Italy for months and violently disfigured before his grandfather eventually agreed to pay a much reduced sum.
I spoke to Ariadne Getty, John Paul Getty III's sister, about the film and what it gets wrong about her famous family.
Getty, whose foundation recently made a $1 million gift to Glaad, told me that she is reluctant to say much about All the Money in the World because it covers such a difficult time in her family's history. "It’s pretty hard to speak on because it’s our family’s personal story, so it’s hard to see," she said. "It’s very personal to me, and I really don’t have that much of a comment."
But when asked if she'd like to clear up any misconceptions perpetuated by the film, she said that it furthers the widespread assumption that her family cares only about money. "I think it’s a film that painted our family as only obsessed with wealth," she told T&C. "That’s not the way that I raised my children. We weren’t raised that way."
J. Paul Getty, she says, was not the hardbitten miser of the film. "My grandfather did not raise me that way at all. And besides being my grandfather, he was also my godfather, so I spent a lot of time with him," she said.
"Business is always business, but that doesn’t mean there can’t be a soft, kind, philanthropic, loving person behind it," she continued.
Getty's gift to Glaad will go toward the organization's Media Institute, which helps spread acceptance of the LGBTQ community, a cause that is very close to Getty's heart as the mother of two gay children. "The goal is to educate as many people as we can," she said. "To really get the message of acceptance out there."
For more information on Glaad, including how you can get involved, visit glaad.org.
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