Spacey | Plate Spinner Extraordinaire
an emily blunt interview
Spacey on DVD
speaking? Mr. Kevin
Spacey seems like the type of guy you could go out to a nice restaurant with (he
wouldn't wear a Metallica tee), enjoy intelligent conversation (perhaps
a chat on English Gothic writers of the 18th century?) then... have rabid
Rhesus monkey sex on the kitchen table for dessert!
incredible legitimate generosity and remarkable old-fashioned charm have made
him one of my favorite people. He's certainly unique. And on top of my
obvious personal attractionhe can ACT! Kevinski is at once a chameleon of
characters and a leading man. Spacey captures his characters; they have depthno
neon signs that scream, "Okay, Im playing the bad guy here, okay, now
Im the good guy."
Kev went to some roles even you'd recognize. Gathered two Academy Awards, many
BAFTA's, oodles of festival awards
and now is a mainstay, thankfully, in film. He's an incredible actor as well as
a remarkable singer, an eye-for-talent producer, precise director, warm dog lover,
and one hell of a handsome generous intelligent and gregarious human that wears
his crown of celebrity with honor and grace.
But The Spacemaster's not
happy riding out the star waves in a fancy brownstone or oceanfront estate...he
took the fame and wealth and formed a production company with a few talents he
knows called Trigger
Street Productions. Their goal? To bring new talent to the public,
give a voice to those who maybe otherwise would still be waiting tables at Big
is a helluva guy folks...so as a badly edited remix of the entire collection of
The Carpenter's love songs danced about in my head [for lack of really knowing
one of their songs straight through] I awaited the Big
my kingdom for a martini!
recently taken over the helm of the notoriously prestigious Old Vic in London.
I decided we should start there.
Congratulations on your appointment of artistic director of the Old
Vic Theater in London!
So what's is your first goal as artistic director?
It would be fund raising.
To get the roof fixed?
No actually, I don't think we should fund raise for that
I think the arts
counsel should pony up for that. We're going to be producing many plays so there's
a lot of work to do between now and November
whenever it is in fall of 2004
when we begin.
latest soiree on film is about a fella willing to give his all for his beliefs.
The Life of David Gale promises to be a controversial thriller people will be
divided on. Its subject, the death penalty, actually takes a back seat to the
characters. Here's what Kevin had to say. ]
Emily: Gosh. Once again in
Dr. David Gale you deliver a very different character. What was it about Gale
that attracted you particularly? [did I actually say gosh - this guy makes me
batty I tells ya]
I just thought it was a pretty amazing story. I thought that within it explored
and improved lot ideas that were interesting and provocative and difficult to
grapple with. It gave me an opportunity to sort of explore the things I haven't
really had a whole lot of a chance to explore in film; on certain levels. And
also I felt that when you take a picture that has a political center and you put
it in the hands of a film maker like Alan Parker
I mean here's a guy who
in Mississippi Burning or The Commitments or Midnight Express
has managed to make the politics subversive to the characters
and to the
emotional lives of the characters. That way what you wouldn't be getting was a
politic you know grandstanding anti-death penalty movie.
right the film doesn't come off as "grandstanding."
No it doesn't. I mean there may be some who that think it leans in a certain direction
but then I think about it and I find it's more specific in following the
two characters that are against it. But I actually think that the film's message,
if there is one, is decidedly more muddled than clear and difficult.
You're successfully steeped in multiple areas of entertainment - is there anything
professionally you still strive for?
Yeah! I want my Grammy! [laughter]
Now is my chance to bring up the long delayed Bobby Darin Story Kevin's been working
on for ages. I am a big Darin fan and personally can't wait.]
Maybe you'll get one with the Bobby
Darin story when that comes out [she said prying the info]
[Laughter-] I can't really talk about that.
[ Drat! Kyboshed again. Can't sue a gal for tryin' mister ] Figures
Life of David Gale is -yes a thriller-but also so political which makes me
ask is there anything politically or professionally that you would be so passionate
I have passions. Sure. But I didn't think
. I can't see myself going as far
as some of the characters in this movie go.
[we dance around plot spoilers
] This role required two very different David
Gale's the easy going alcoholic Gale that babbles about Socrates
[laughter] The easy going alcoholic Gale [laughter]! I'll tell you how that scene
happened, 'cause it wasn't in the original script
about four weeks into shooting
I started to talk to Alan Parker. I felt there wasn't enough of David's philosophy.
You know we had the scene in the classroom in the beginning. But I felt that by
the time his life begins to unravel that was so far away
from an audience's consciousness. I felt that I wanted to some how get into the
movie how these philosophies, that he held very dear to his heart
expounded to his sentence at the beginning of the film. Coming into direct crashing
conflict with the realities of his life and we both felt that it shouldn't be
an academic scene if we were to do one. So we he came up with the idea of getting
him drunk. We sort of outlined it faxed it off to Charles Randolph [the screenwriter]
and he faxed back this scene which I kind of expounded on. Then we went out onto
Sixth Street [an Austin,TX hotspot] on my last night of shooting. Most of those
people weren't extras. So we had very minimal crew
we literally just showed
up on Sixth Street and most of those people thought Kevin Spacey's tanked out
of his mind! [laughter] You know it's one shot. No cuts in that scene!
Was it improv'd?
Some of it was improv'd. And a lot of it was written by Charles Randolph.
And there was solemn resolved Gale driven by his beliefs. What was the difference
in your preparation?
Just trying to get into the mindset
and where he was; the emotional terrains.
A lot if it was
there's a great many moments in the movie where
David's alone he is gravelling with what's happening in his life and how everything
that's precious to him is going away. That was really me and Alan trying to figure
out, "Okay, what do we want to try and play here? What's happening in this
scene?" And then for me the supreme pleasure of developing a relationship
with Laura Linney!
She's just wonderful in this and everything she graces.
Yes. She's just remarkable and wonderfully complex and intimate. It's an intense
example of two people who care very much for each other.
Emily: Did you interview death penalty activists or death row inmates? Or focus
more on Gale as a man father and Lacanian?
Yeah, no it was. It was more focus of Gale - as man and father. I did meet with,
well Laura and I met with and had a buffet dinner with, a woman who is a college
professor of philosophy, who is also an opponent of the death penalty. But that
was more about
I mean we can read books. This was more about the day- to-
day life you know? What's your life? It was more about to my account, how
do you balance these two things? What's your life like and how do other faculty
members think? How's your administration think? You know, sort of just the nuts
and bolts of it. I didn't meet any death row inmates and I didn't go to a prison
because I felt ultimately that would just be an academic exercise since you never
see David in his cell you never
its not a movie about the process of putting
someone to death. You only see him in the interview section and you see him in
the holding cell prior to an execution so there was no chance to make any of that
work in the acting. Since David's mind is in a very different place, than perhaps
most people on death row, it didn't feel like it was going to be a productive
meeting. Alan said he went and it was kind of spooky and creepy. So I thought
I'd just avoid it.
I don't blame you
do you have issue with the morality of or effectiveness
of the death penalty? Is this role an actor just doing a job or does it reflect
In the movie... because I have some political position on the death penalty I
wanted to proselytize my point of view. Alan does have a point of view and he's
made it clear that he's against it. I just thought it was a great thriller and
a great movie and a great screenplay. And hey, maybe if out of drama if then people
might find a way to have a conversation about some of these issues, that it isn't
so polarizing, then maybe that's a good thing.
Spacey is an enigmatic chap true
but professionally he's dabbling in many
areas, each more successful than the other. Certainly there is something this
genius can't do
You appear to have such ease in all you do. So confess! What can't Mr. Kevin Spacey
do? String popcorn? Wax a floor? What?
Mmmmaahhh. I'm sure there are movies out there that people have seen me
not be good at something
and I'm sure there are many many things
that I am not good at. However those things are not things that I would probably
want to do in public because who needs to have people watch you do something badly.
I do many things badly.
[ Now, there's a verbal tap-dance for ya kiddies! ] Your costars, Laura
Linney and Kate Winslet, are the type of actors that inspire little girls want
to grow up and act! Do you have any Kevin Stories from the set?
[laughter] Those famous Kevin Stories?
Yeah, like everyone got pregnant, not by you, but semi-simultaneously on The
uhhhhummm. We did try to have a good time while we were shooting but this
was a very intense movie to make. To some degree you use humor as a deflection.
I was only there five weeks and we did the movie almost in three sections. We
did Laura and myself. Then another five days with Kate. Then Kate went on and
shot with Gabrielle- and they did their whole section. So it was a tense time.
The cubicle they stuck you in for the "interview in prison" scenes,
did that help you get into the mindset of Gale?
Surroundings always sort of help. You always try to adapt to the scenic design.
In fact they had made the set so realistic that the window didn't come out when
they had to measure
because you know they have to measure from the camera
lens to the actor. And because of the glass, not only did they have to measure
camera to the window but they had to come back around and do it again from the
window to my face.
You mean the cinematography?
Yeah! But I have to also say Kate was so remarkably good that at the end of six
days it didn't seem like we had a pane of glass between us.
You're always working aside the finest actress' do you have a say in that?
I don't wield magic wand. I mean I am part of the process both with the
director or the studio making suggestions, and who they think is a good choice.
We just got very fortunate, that
the people Alan and I both felt very strongly about, that the studio concurred.
Lemmon, the great, believed in Mr. Spacey long ago. They developed a warm friendship
that Kevin admitted (in a rare glimpse into his personal life) was a bond so strong
Jack was like a second father.]
The great Jack
Lemmon was a mentor for you
lucky lucky man
him with TriggerStreet.com's
motto of, "Sending the elevator back down." Is there anything
else he left you with that drives you? [ visions of my two favorite men on stage
as the Tyrones started to swim about in my head
Oh yeah. I think I couldn't have had a better example of somebody who handled
their fame, and handled the leadership of being in a position, as the center of
a movie or the center of a play, who helped to create an environment that was
fun and made people very comfortable any better than I could have had in Jack.
So I just try to carry that on.
[Geeze, he's a genuine Yummitini with a twist of Lemmon huh?] You too have a rep
as also being a pleasure on set- is that just who you are?
Yeah. It's not a role I'm playing, it's just who I am.
You produce, direct, act, sing, so on and so on
you're always morphing and
living life to its fullest. What motivates you; are you a classic over achiever
a workaholic? Or is your big glorious blue chip mutual fund brain just required
to diversify to keep from getting bored?
[hearty laughter] That may be the funniest question I've ever been asked! [laughter]
I think the answer is yes. [laughter] I enjoy very much trying to take the extraordinary
good fortune that's happened to me and spread it around.
I like to spin plates.
I like to delegate. I enjoy you know
Look first of all, at the end of the
day what am I suppose to do with it? If ya got it ya might as well share it, 'cause
there aint any use for it after that!
[ I made him giggle...you know they say the way to copulation with a fella is
or is it Tequila? Okay - chickbabe focus
focus ] Still
that's very rare Kevin. There are so many that say, "I'm rich, I'm famous,
Then they must live in little bubbles. My mother raised me right!
Anything still on your list of life accomplishments?
Yeah there's a few things. Most of them they're
well, they're not professional.
I have a lot of personal goals and things that I want to have in my life. And
I think some of the decisions I've made
certainly the Old Vic is a part of
a series of decisions I've made that is going to sort of keep me in one place
for a time. And that's important to me after so much travel and craziness. So
I'm looking forward to this new chapter.
Your first passion is theater and now with this coveted role of artistic director
at the Old Vic, are you bringing anymore O'Neill's
to the stage?
Well you know other than just announcing the fact that we're doing many series
going to avoid talking about titles or individuals. We have about a year and a
half now to decide what directors we want to have come and do plays, what plays
we want to do. Then forming a company around those plays. In the meantime there's
an enormous amount of intrastructure; the minutia, the day-to-day, staffing. All
that stuff. There's a lot of work to be done before we announce our season. But
I am looking forward to doing a whole lot of things that make it a place we can
all call our home. We'll do a diverse amount of work.
Emily: You're calling it your home
so does that mean that you'll be going
with your usual habit of allowing untried talents to have a go?
I think one of our goals, of course, will be to discover and develop undiscovered
talent. Because as you know it's not so much where somebody is today it's where
they'll be in five or ten years if they're nurtured and taken under the wing.
You know given help to develop.
How are you finding these new talents?
Part of what I've been doing with Trigger Street is developing enormously good
relationships with writers. Particularly a whole new crop of writers. Secondly,
we have a series at Old Vic called "Old
Vic - New Voices" which has been enormously successful. It's a
series where we do readings and stage new plays. So we've been in the process
of looking for new material for a while. Some of us have known about this decision
was coming. I've known for over two years this was coming. I kept it a secret
till we were ready to announce it.
been on the board
I've been on the board since 98.
Iceman didn't play there did it?
Yes. Yes it did
it was at the Almeida. It only played for eight weeks at
the Almeida and when we transferred, decided to transfer the play, we brought
it over to the Old Vic where it played for another sixteen weeks. So my first
experience at the Old Vic was on its stage.
did that feel?
It is hands down my favorite theater in the entire world and the best theater
I've ever played in.
is that? In what sense?
Because it was made for actors. In the sense that acoustically you can
stand on that stage and place the performance exactly where you want it. And you
know where's it's going! Your never throwing it out to a black void
lose your voice. It is a remarkably well-designed theater. Even though it's over
a thousand seats.
I have to ask for my Oneillians. Is there a copy of your Iceman Cometh ever coming
Nope. Not to my knowledge.
you video tape it?
Well, on that sad note I finalize. Bye [sweet embraceable you
] and thanks
Okay. Gotta run anyway. Buh-bye.
Blunterrettes? What's not to love about this guy? Sure I'd like to explore him
for a couple of undisturbed hours while a vintage vinyl of Dino's " Songs
d' Amore " plays softly in the background and the fire roars feverishly (
he drives me bughouse I tell you ). But it's his honest to goodness - goodness
- that is truly sexy!
wilt thou darkling leave me? Yes. Kevin was off on his busy way
find their dreams, working hard to "one up" himself, and no doubt letting
his big beautiful mind conjure up something even he didn't know he aspired to