Danny Boyle Is Directing a Miniseries About the Kidnapping of J. Paul Getty III


What happens when the heir of an extremely wealthy oil fortune gets kidnapped and held for ransom?One particular story doesn’t end with a simple check delivery, and that story is becoming a series.

In July 1973, John Paul Getty III – an heir to what was once described as “the richest family in the world” — was kidnapped, held for ransom, neglected by his family, tortured, and somewhat dismembered before he finally was freed five months later.

The series about these events — called Trust — has just been ordered for an initial ten episode run by FX. The show will see the return of the dynamic Oscar-winning writer-director duo behind Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours, who are once again reuniting to reprise their respective roles: Simon Beaufoy will write, and Danny Boyle has signed on to direct.

This first installment will focus on the highly publicized kidnapping of the then 16-year-old John Paul Getty III and his family’s subsequent refusal to pay his ransom. In the now infamous story, the eldest of his four siblings remained in the hands of his kidnappers for several months before his ransom was lowered from an initial $17 million to $3.2 million — but not before he had already had one of his ears cut off and mailed to a daily newspaper with the threat of more body “bits” to come. He finally was freed on December 15, 1973 — second ear intact.

As noted on Vanity Fair, FX described Trust as being “equal parts family history, dynastic saga, and satirical examination of the corrosive power of money.” And, according to the FX president Eric Schrier, “Simon’s script wonderfully dramatizes the notorious and bizarre kidnapping of J. Paul Getty’s grandson. It’s the perfect way to open this limited series, allowing us to see how three generations, including one of the world’s richest men, clash when family, fortune and reputation are in jeopardy.”