“He’s running away from the Getty name but also trying to exploit it, so he doesn’t quite know how he wants to live is life,” said Harris Dickinson about his role as John Paul Getty III in the FX drama series “Trust,” which premieres on Sunday, March 25. The series follows the notorious 1973 kidnapping of the Getty teen, who was “one of the richest 16-year-olds in the world, but he doesn’t actually have anything.” Dickinson and his co-stars discussed the series during a lunch in New York City on March 15. Watch him above.
When Dickinson said the Getty heir didn’t have anything, that’s true in more ways than one. The beginning of the series finds him visiting the palatial estate of his grandfather, oil baron J. Paul Getty (played by Donald Sutherland), in the hopes of borrowing $6,000 from the tightfisted billionaire to pay off his debts. But the desperate teen isn’t just wanting for money. He’s also “trying to fill in for a lot of things in his life.” As suggested by the series, growing up Getty didn’t make for an especially warm or affectionate childhood, so “he wants to fill in certain relationships, certain aspects that he didn’t get from his upbringing with his father.”
That’s the core conflict for the young man, whom Dickinson described as a “walking paradox.” He craves the love and attention he never received while also rebelling against his family and what they stand for. He tries to forge his own identity as a “free-loving, idealistic teenager,” but he also trades on the Getty name as the only currency he has without access to his inheritance. That’s what lands him in hot water, taking him from the fame of his family name to the infamy of one of the best-known crime stories of the 20th century.
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