Friday, April 12, 2024

Exclusive: Actor Balthazar Getty Asked If He Could Be in F/X Series About His Father’s Kidnapping


Here’ s a little Hollywood irony: while reports circulate that one member of the Getty family is threatening legal action over Danny Boyle’s wildly good new F/X mini-series, “Trust,” another member of the clan wanted to be in it. That would be actor Balthazar Getty, great grandson of J. Paul Getty (played in the show ferociously by Donald Sutherland).

Believe it or not actor Balthazar, whom you’ve seen in TV’s “Brothers & Sisters” and other shows like the recent “Twin Peaks,” is the son of J. Paul Getty III, the very same subject of the new TV series “Trust” and this winter’s “All the Money in the World.”

In 1973, Getty III was kidnapped and his ear was cut off to prove it. Two years later, Balthazar was born. His father was just 19. After a kind of tragic life, Getty III died at age 54 in 2011.

Now, insiders from “Trust,” a very hot about-to-debut mini-series on F/X, tell me that Balthazar– who must live with his family legacies while we just snark about them– inquired about acting in the show about his father’s kidnapping and his great- grandfather’s notoriously cold response to the situation.

Meantime, it’s being reported that Balthazar’s aunt, Ariadne Getty, sister of his father, has hired cage-rattler Marty Singer to scare F/X with letters claiming the mini-series is defamatory. She obviously hasn’t talked to her nephew. Ariadne thinks the show suggests they were all in on the kidnapping. But it’s pretty clear from what we saw the other night that the Gettys were not at all involved. Singer makes a lot of noise, but after “All the Money in the World,” I can’t imagine there’s a case here.

So who would Balthazar have played? “It didn’t get that far,” says the insider. “We just thought it was too creepy.”

Maybe. But Balthazar, who’s a pretty good actor, is exactly the right age to have played his grandfather, Eugene Paul Getty. Instead, the role went to Michael Esper, who starred in Sting’s “The Last Ship” on Broadway. Esper is excellent. But imagine the PR possibilities of Balthazar in this series.

As it happens, Balthazar– who obviously doesn’t need to work–I’m told is outstanding in Jennifer De Lia’s upcoming movie about Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks. He plays famed Hollywood photographer Alfred Johnston.

PS Someone should write a movie in which all the actor children of famous stars play their parents in a Hollywood tale. That’s what they call meta- meta!

PSS Has anyone noticed Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins’ son Miles playing Mulder and Scully’s son on “The X Files”? He’s very good…


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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