New BBC drama Trust starring Donald Sutherland filmed in Hatfield
PUBLISHED: 18:49 07 September 2018 | UPDATED: 09:59 11 September 2018
A star-studded new BBC Two drama that hits UK TV screens next week was partly filmed in Hatfield.
The first episode of Trust, from award-winning executive producers Danny Boyle, Simon Beaufoy and Christian Colson, will be screened on BBC Two at 9pm on Wednesday, September 12.
Scenes from the 10-part series were shot on location at Hatfield House, with the Hertfordshire stately home’s Long Gallery among the rooms used.
It’s not the first time Lord Salisbury’s home has been used for TV productions, with Tom Hardy’s Taboo also filmed at Hatfield House.
Inspired by actual events, Trust delves into the trials and triumphs of one of America’s wealthiest and unhappiest families, the Gettys.
Like last year’s Ridley Scott movie All The Money in The World, Trust is based on the notorious true-life kidnapping of the heir to billionaire J Paul Getty, one of the world’s wealthiest businessmen.
Producers filmed the famous kidnapping last summer in Rome.
Executive producer Simon Beaufoy added: “Other filming locations included Hatfield House, with the gold ceiling, and also Audley End.
“We filmed the oil rig in Aberdeen and other scenes were done in London, too.”
Playing J Paul Getty Senior this time around is veteran Donald Sutherland.
The Hunger Games star is the third actor in recent years to film scenes as the oil tycoon and art collector at Hatfield House, after Kevin Spacey and Christopher Plummer for All The Money in The World.
The shamed Spacey was axed from that blockbuster just weeks before the movie was due to be released, with Plummer hastily reshooting Spacey’s scenes inside Hatfield House and in the grounds of the Jacobean mansion.
Plummer subsequently won an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
Playing alongside Sutherland as the head of the Getty family in Trust is a stellar cast that includes Oscar winner Hilary Swank, of Million Dollar Baby fame, The Mummy’s Brendan Fraser, Harris Dickinson, Anna Chancellor (Ordeal By Innocence), Charlotte Riley (Peaky Blinders), Amanda Drew (Broadchurch) and Sophie Winkleman (Peep Show).
Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle directs the first three episodes, including next week’s opener, The House of Getty.
The Oscar winner said: “What was lovely about doing three episodes – and this is very much in the writing – is that every one of them has a different flavour, so it’s like doing three 60-minute films.
“They all have their own identity but have connective tissue, which is crucial, and all have ingredients which reset each time you begin them.
“We tried to film them in order so we could build as much of an atmosphere as possible.
“It’s helped by having Brendan Fraser arrive in an extraordinary performance at the beginning of the episode two, and then another actor, Luca Marinelli, arrives at the beginning of episode three, and again he’s an amazing presence driving the film and setting up for future episodes.”
Trust opens in 1973 with the kidnapping of John Paul Getty III (Dickinson), heir to the Getty fortune, in Rome.
His captors bank on a multi-million dollar ransom. After all, what rich family wouldn’t pay for the safe return of a loved one?
However, back in England, his wealthy grandfather (Sutherland), an enigmatic oil tycoon surrounded by a harem of mistresses and a pet lion, refuses to pay up.
With Paul’s father (Michael Esper) lost in a drug-induced daze in London, refusing to answer the phone, it is left to Paul’s mother – the penniless Gail Getty (Swank) – to negotiate with both the increasingly desperate kidnappers and her stubborn former father-in-law to save her son.
Explaining the story, executive producer Simon Beaufoy said: “It evolves around the kidnapping of John Paul Getty III, which is the big one that everyone knows about.
“What they don’t know is that there were three generations of Gettys involved in this saga; the kidnapping is a way into the story of the richest people in the world.
“John Paul Getty was the world’s first billionaire and it’s a story about the lack of love that he had cascading down the generations from one generation of Gettys to the next, and how it all culminated in this terrible event when his grandson was kidnapped.”
Equal parts family history, dynastic saga and an examination of the corrosive power of money, Trust explores the complexities at the heart of every family, rich or poor.
Simon added: “Trust was two years in the writing and making but probably three years from when I first read an article on it and thought it was interesting.
“Then the more involved I got the more it became an extraordinary dark tale of some very rich and crazy people.”
The project appealed to acclaimed director Danny Boyle, who recently quit the new James Bond movie.
He said: “For me, it was the writing that appealed. I didn’t have the same obsession with the characters or the world, but it was the quality of the writing of an event that – because of my age – I vaguely remember.
“It was an investigation of something we are now much more familiar with, which is a dynastic and beyond-imagination-rich family.
“It’s almost like a blueprint for the way that money works in many ways in life now.
“And by money, I don’t mean the money that you and I use in our daily lives. I mean money as an elemental force that’s so powerful that it has its own morality and behavioural code.”
As a 10-part series, producers were able to explore the subject in-depth.
Simon Beaufoy said: “It’s a great luxury of television. In film you’re on a narrative motorway; you have two hours and then you are out of the door.
“In this, you’ve got hours to stop the story dead and go sideways.
“We spend an episode looking at the kidnappers and how they thought and felt about what they have done, working out what the hell they are going to do with this kid if no-one wants him.
“You can take these alleys and byways and explore at leisure, which is a huge luxury that television gives you.”
The show is produced by FX Productions, Cloud Eight Films, Decibel Films and Snicket Films Limited.
The 10-part series will premiere in the UK exclusively on BBC Two, and was acquired by the channel from Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution.
• Trust starts on BBC Two on Wednesday, September 12 at 9pm.
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Welwyn Hatfield Times. Click the link in the orange box above for details.