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Don't miss 'Trust'

Brian Fillis is one of the scriptwriters contributing to the forthcoming FX series 'Trust'

Brian Fillis is one of the contributing screenwriters on the forthcoming FX series 'Trust'. Simon Beaufoy, creator of the series—perhaps best known for his scripts for 'The Full Monty' and 'Slumdog Millionaire'—invited Brian to write scripts for the 10-episode series.


The series tells the truth-is-stranger-fiction story of the kidnapping of John Paul Getty III by the 'Ndrangheta, an Italian organised crime syndicate, in Rome in 1973. Infamously, the poor kid's stupendously rich grandfather, the American tycoon J. Paul Getty—according to credible sources, still the richest man in the world at the time—refused to pay the ransom.


John Paul Getty II, the father of the kidnapped party, and his wife Abigail Harris divorced in the early 1960s. After that JPG III was largely brought up by his mother in Rome. During their marriage, JPG II and Abigail had lived a hippie lifestyle that had been a point of great irritation to the patriarch J. Paul Getty. Whether the choice of Abigail Harris to assert freedom from the Getty clan or the resentful meanness of her former father-in-law, life in Rome for Abigail and her son JPG III was a curious mix of near-poverty and residual privilege. But, undoubtedly, when her son was abducted, she did not have access to resources to pay the demanded $17million ransom.


JPG II had wandered off in a drug-addicted haze and a new marriage to socialite-cum-actress Talitha Pol playing out in Swinging London and was largely sidelined in the whole affair. Abigail Harris immediately petitioned her former father-in-law for help to free her son. But, J. Paul Getty was immovable in his position to not give in to the kidnappers' demands.


The result was much trauma to John Paul Getty III during his five-month period of captivity, not to mention having his ear sliced off by the kidnappers. And, it was only the fact that they sent the young man's severed ear to an Italian newspaper, breaking the media blackout J. Paul Getty had fought hard to keep in place, that finally brought rich ol' grandaddy to the negotiation table, eventually securing the release of JPG III.


Crazy and in no small part horrific, all of this torrid tale is, of course, like catnip to TV networks—after all, who doesn't like to watch dramas in which the superrich aren't happy?


'Trust' stars Donald Sutherland, Hilary Swank, Brenda Fraser and Harris Dickinson. It's scheduled to premiere on FX in the USA in late March. Guess the rest of us will just need to wait...


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