All the Money in the World: Compelling Tale Inspired by True Facts

Christopher Plummer stepped in to replace Spacey in the lead role of J.Paul Getty, the American billionaire who famously refused to pay $17m for the release of his kidnapped teenage grandson.

In 1973, John Paul Getty, age 16, was kidnapped in Rome. Knowing all about his family’s wealthy legacy – which had its roots in the oil industry – his kidnappers demanded $17 million from J. Paul Getty, the world’s wealthiest man at the time.

Known to his contemporaries as “Old John,” Getty had five wives during his lifetime. He proudly talked of his mistresses–where he met them and made love them. He spoke to them via a personal payphone which was installed at his Surrey estate.

Getty did not meet his kidnapped grandson, who was known to friends and family as Paul, until he was 11. When they met again four years later, Getty was unimpressed by the bohemian lifestyle of Paul.

At the time of the abduction Paul had been living in Rome, practicing painting.  Aware of his family legacy, his identity was known by the local media, which dubbed him “the Golden Hippie”.

Paul was purchasing a comic book at a newsstand when he was abducted by three men who knocked him out him with a gun. The men, hailing from Calabria, drove him to a cave and tied him up while they probed the Getty family for the hefty ransom.

Initially, they suspected it was a hoax that Paul had contrived in order to ascertain more money from his family.

Old John told the media that he didn’t believe in paying kidnappers: “I have 14 other grandchildren and if I pay one penny now, then I’ll have 14 kidnapped grandchildren.”

After three months , the kidnappers took action by cutting off the  teenager’s right ear with a razor, and then sent it to a newspaper in Rome. Paul’s worried mother Gail recognized her son’s ear and began raising funds on her own to pay the ransom money.

The family ultimately negotiated the ransom down to $2.2m, and Paul was released five months after he’d been taken.

Nine years later, an overdose on methadone and valium left Paul quadriplegic. He died in 2011 at the age of 54.