Just call writer-director James Cox the anti-Ridley Scott. Late last year, the filmmakers found themselves in the same unenviable position: Both had upcoming releases starring Kevin Spacey, who has now fielded more than 30 accusations of sexual misconduct from men and boys. Scott elected to replace Spacey with Christopher Plummer in December’s “All the Money in the World,” a switch that cost $10 million in reshoots.
Not only did Cox (“Wonderland,” “Straight A’s”) keep Spacey in his feature, “Billionaire Boys Club,” but the two-time Oscar winner has several bearded-and-bespectacled appearances in the first trailer, released Friday. Just yesterday, Universal Pictures unveiled a debut trailer for “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” that omits T.J. Miller’s character, even though he took part in the franchise’s first two entries and is expected to return for part three. Miller faces a sexual-assault allegation, and was recently arrested for falsifying a bomb threat.
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“Billionaire Boys Club” is based on the real Los Angeles investment group established by Joseph Henry Gamsky (who went by “Joe Hunt”) in 1983. Hunt is played by Golden Globe-nominated actor Ansel Elgort, a role that went to Judd Nelson in NBC’s two-part, 1987 TV movie of the same name. This time, Nelson portrays Hunt’s father.
Like “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “The Wizard of Lies,” the film dissects financial schemes that made their masterminds first rich, then penniless. The real-life Billionaire Boys Club lost millions at the hands of con artist Ron Levin (Spacey, Elgort’s “Baby Driver” foe). In 1984, Levin was murdered, and Hunt — one of multiple men charged with the killing — is now serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole. Trailer footage progresses from the duo attending nightclubs together to Hunt grabbing a steak knife, then a bloody balcony fall.
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Spacey has not been onscreen since May 2017, when Netflix released season five of “House of Cards” (he was fired from the series in November). Elgort’s “Billionaire Boys Club” co-stars also include Taron Egerton, Emma Roberts, Billie Lourd, Cary Elwes, and Suki Waterhouse. The cast shot the film between December 2015 and January 2016.
Watch the trailer below, from Vertical Entertainment.