An accusation of sexual assault these days is tantamount to a guilty verdict, certainly in the court of industry opinion. Even, in the case of Timothy Hutton, when it concerns an allegation of an assault said to have happened 36 years ago, when Hutton was 23 and and the alleged victim, Sera Johnston, was 14.
Johnston is now 50, and out for some form of justice or payback. Her story is recounted in a Buzzfeed piece by Kate Aurthur and Adam B. Vary that was last updated on 3.2.20. Hutton spokespersons have said that the 59 year-old actor “completely and unequivocally denies” Johnston’s allegations, calling them “patently false and designed only to extort money from him.”
Whatever the truth and however this shakes out, Hutton will almost certainly suffer some kind of career interruptus. He could even become the new Kevin Spacey, or more precisely a blend of Spacey and Roman Polanski, given Johnston’s age at the time of the alleged assault.
But right now Hutton’s troubled reputation amounts to a serious problem regarding Julie Taymor‘s The Glorias (Roadside/LD Entertainment, fall release). It’s a decades-spanning biopic about feminist icon Gloria Steinem in which Hutton plays Leo Steinem, her antique-dealer father.
The problem is somewhat similar to that faced by director Ridley Scott when Spacey’s predatory behavior became an issue during post-production of All The Money In The World. Spacey’s performance as J. Paul Getty was scrapped and Christopher Plummer re-performed the part before Scott’s cameras.
I’m presuming that The Glorias can’t be released with Hutton costarring, given that an accused rapist costarring in a biopic about a major feminist author and figurehead would seem incongruent.
What, then, can the producers do except re-cast his part and re-shoot the Leo portions of the film? That or somehow re-cut the film so that Leo is no longer a necessary character. But that sounds tricky, given that the young-Steinem portions are largely about Leo taking his family on antique-peddling travels around the country in an Airstream. The original title of the film was The Glorias: A Life on The Road.
What would you do if you were a producer of Taymor’s film? I’m presuming it would cost an arm and a leg to pay for a CG face-plant. They either re-shoot Hutton’s scene or cut Hutton out.