Donald Sutherland gives a tour-de-force performance as J Paul Getty in this stylish 10-part series, which centres on the 1973 kidnapping of the billionaire’s 16-year-old grandson John Paul Getty III (Harris Dickinson) in Italy.
Be warned, the episode opens with the gruesome, drug-fuelled suicide of one of the oil tycoon’s sons.
The tragedy brings the young John Paul to his grandfather’s Surrey mansion, where the miserly magnate plays his mistresses off against each other and belittles his surviving sons.
He sees a glimmer of hope in his grandson, but the teen just wants to pay off some shady associates in Rome – and his grandfather won’t give him the money…
TV Times meets Donald, 83, – star of The Dirty Dozen, Cold Mountain and The Hunger Games among many others – for an exclusive interview about the family saga…
‘He is a wonderful character to play because he’s so complex,’ explains Donald. ‘ He has an inability to allow himself to love, which is so sad. He would do anything to be able to love, but something always comes up that prevents it in some way.
‘Getty spoke six languages and could do numbers off the top of his head,’ says Donald. ‘But he was burdened by the fact that his sister had died when she was two years old. He was born afterwards, and he could never make up to his mother for the loss of that child.
‘People are really interested in power and money,’ he adds. ‘Why do people stop when they see an accident on the side of the road? The Getty family was an accident on the side of the road…’