Bernardo Bertolucci Says Ridley Scott "Should Be Ashamed" for Replacing Kevin Spacey

The Italian director also said he wants to work with the actor, who is currently under investigation for sexual assault.

Bernardo Bertolucci criticized fellow filmmaker Ridley Scott's decision last year to replace Kevin Spacey in All the Money in the World with Christopher Plummer after Spacey was accused of sexual assault by more than a dozen men.

During the world premiere of his restored film Last Tango in Paris on Saturday night at the Bari International Film Festival, Bertolucci had harsh words for Scott.

Bertolucci said that when he learned Scott had agreed to erase all of Spacey's scenes in the film, his first reaction was to message Scott's frequent editor Pietro Scalia, "to tell Scott that he should be ashamed,” said Bertolucci, who thought Scott was succumbing to pressure. 

“And then I immediately wanted to make a film with Spacey,” continued the director, to much applause from the audience.  

Bertolucci clarified that he agrees completely with the #MeToo movement and praised it for bringing awareness to violence against women around the world.

After Sony pulled the All the Money in the World from its AFI Fest premiere last fall, the film’s future was in doubt. Scott made an unprecedented decision to reshoot a number of scenes in a record nine days, with Plummer in the role of J. Paul Getty, replacing Spacey. Plummer’s performance earned him an Academy Award nomination for his work and Scott was widely hailed for removing Spacey from his film. 

Los Angeles prosecutors are currently reviewing a possible 1992 case against Spacey for sexual assault.

Bertolucci has been criticized over the years for revealing that crucial details of Last Tango's butter rape scene involving Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider were withheld from the young actress until the actual shoot in order to elicit a more outraged reaction from her. The helmer admitted he had been horrible to Schneider at the time but denied feeling any regret over his actions.

Schneider admitted years later that she felt “a little raped, both by Marlon and by Bertolucci,” and said that had she known her rights as an actress, she would have called her agent or lawyer at the time.

Bertolucci again discussed Schneider and the infamous scene in Bari. “On the set, she was happy,” he said. “Do not believe on social media when they say it was rape: The butter scene was pure simulation.”

The filmmaker added that during the shooting, “Brando was very paternal and protective of her. There was a very good relationship between them.”

At Saturday's premiere, fellow director Giuseppe Tornatore honored Bertolucci with the Federico Fellini Platinum lifetime achievement award, resulting in a standing ovation from the crowd.

Tornatore himself has been singled out amidst the #MeToo movement in Italy, where female accusers have often themselves been subjected to a media trial questioning their character and motivation. Tornatore was accused of molesting a woman in his office 20 years ago, but he has denied all claims of wrongdoing and the case has since largely disappeared from the public eye.