'Trust' Creator Simon Beaufoy Talks His Dark Comedic Twist on the Getty Family

John Russell
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Creator and executive producer Simon Beaufoy describes the pilot of his new FX drama Trust as “Downton Abbey on acid.”

Directed by Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire), the series centers on eccentric oil tycoon John Paul Getty Sr. (Donald Sutherland), who is ensconced in an old English country manor wallowing in disappointment over his adult sons’ recent forays into drugs and antiquities, with only four mistresses, a taciturn butler and a pet lion for company.

FX Sets Premieres for Final Season of 'The Americans,' 'Atlanta' Return, and Debut of 'Trust'

FX Sets Premieres for Final Season of 'The Americans,' 'Atlanta' Return, and Debut of 'Trust'

March brings the return of critical favorites to the prestigious network.

Did we mention this actually happened? “The extraordinary parts to the story are true,” Beaufoy says. And it gets a lot weirder from there.

The Getty scion’s relatively quiet existence is disrupted by the arrival of his grandson John Paul Getty III (Harris Dickinson). The teen owes a lot of money to some shady characters, and after Gramps refuses to fork over the cash, young Paul teams up with the people he owes to fake his own kidnapping in the hopes of splitting the hefty ransom. One glitch: Getty Sr. refuses to pay up.

Unlike the recent big-screen adaptation of the 1973 Getty abduction, All the Money in the World, Beaufoy has injected Trust with a wry, comedic tone. “It’s a dark-hearted caper,” he explains. “There was a kind of ridiculousness to the whole business.”

Brendan Fraser to Star in FX Drama 'Trust'

Brendan Fraser to Star in FX Drama 'Trust'

The anthology drama is about the kidnapping of Getty Oil Company founder John Paul Getty III.

Of course, not everyone involved is as emotionally divested. Brendan Fraser plays Getty Sr.’s Stetson-wearing, God-fearing head of security, who tries to find the boy in earnest. And Oscar winner Hilary Swank stars as Getty III’s devastated mother, Gail.

Despite the show’s rollicking tone, Trust is “about consequences,” Beaufoy says, “when people have the most money and the least empathy.”

Trust, Premiere, Sunday, March 25, 10/9c, FX

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This article also appeared in the March 19 - April 1 issue of TV Guide Magazine.

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