When it was announced that All The Money In The World was being released over two months before Trust those involved in the FX drama would have had every right to feel aggrieved.
That’s because both “All The Money In The World” and “Trust” revolve around the kidnapping of John Paul Getty III back in 1973. However, instead of feeling “threatened,” “Trust’s” creator and wrier Simon Beaufoy recently told me on the red carpet for the show that he was actually “intrigued” by Sir Ridley Scott’s film.
“Because movies are a kind of narrative freeway. You have to move fast, it is all about the story,” Beaufoy remarked. “But TV is 10 hours. You can get off the freeway, go down the bumpy road and round the corners.”
“We spend an hour down in southern Italy and the kidnappers wondering what the hell to do when they won’t pay the ransom. And the stress that causes, because they have to guard him, they have to feed him. It was a great privilege to be able to do that.”
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Beaufoy also went into detail about the differences between “All The Money In The World” and “Trust,” the most prominent of which is that the show insists that John Paul Getty III organized his own kidnapping.
“I discovered that he actually kidnapped himself because he was so short of cash,” Beaufoy explained. “He was selling paintings for food in restaurants. Because he had no money to eat. So how does that happen when you are the son of a billionaire?”
This then provoked me to ask the Academy Award winning scribe of “Slumdog Millionaire” whether “Trust” is the definitive version of the kidnapping, but Beaufoy insisted it would be “arrogant” for him to say that.
“Because truth, reality and fact are all slippery and different. And truth as a concept depends on who you are and when you are.”
“Even when we were writing it the story was changing. John Paul Getty’s secretary claimed to have no sexual relationship with him, which was unusual because everyone else around him claimed to have.”
“Only a couple of months ago she claimed that they had an affair for years, and had abortions, and was the love of his life. Who knows what the truth is? There are certain things that we have to take as true as possible.”
“Which is why we had to take the interviews with those involved as gold. There’s a fantastic book by Charles Fox and he was a journalist that spoke to everyone involved, including the grandson, and I took my cue from that book, as that being as near and true as possible.”
“But even then I had to read between the lines. Because it is only hinted at that the kid set it up himself. So then I researched more. Fictionalizing a true story is a complicated business.”
“What I always said was that the unbelievable bits of the story are true. But I made educated guesses as a writer and stitched the bits that we don’t know together.”
“You use your writer instincts to fill in the gaps, and usually you are not too far from the truth. Because if you know 90% of a person they tend to behave as you expect them to.”
The first 10-episode season of “Trust” premieres Sunday at 10 p.m. on FX.