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After seven years of ‘exile’, Kevin Spacey closer to big screen return

Sharon Stone, Liam Neeson and Stephen Fry are among the stars campaigning for Kevin Spacey to resume his acting career “after seven years of exile”.

May 16, 2024, updated May 16, 2024
US actor Kevin Spacey departs Southwark Crown Court in London after being acquitted on a list of sexual assault claims.   EPA/ANDY RAIN

US actor Kevin Spacey departs Southwark Crown Court in London after being acquitted on a list of sexual assault claims. EPA/ANDY RAIN

 

The Oscar-winning actor was one of the most recognised faces in Hollywood when allegations of sexual misconduct were made in 2017, leading streaming giant Netflix to cut all ties with him.

Despite being acquitted of a number of sexual offences after a trial in London, and winning a US civil lawsuit in which he was accused of making an unwanted sexual advance, Spacey said he still feels ostracised from the industry.

In statements to the Telegraph newspaper, fellow actors have come out in support of the 64-year-old in the wake of Channel 4 documentary Spacey Unmasked, which features fresh allegations from men which Spacey has denied.

Basic Instinct star Stone told the newspaper: “I can’t wait to see Kevin back at work. He is a genius. He is so elegant and fun, generous to a fault and knows more about our craft than most of us ever will.”

The 66-year-old said it was clear aspiring actors had “wanted and want to be around him”.

She added: “It’s terrible that they are blaming him for not being able to come to terms with themselves for using him and negotiating with themselves because they didn’t get their secret agendas.”

Meanwhile, Northern Irish film star Neeson, 71, told the paper: “Kevin is a good man and a man of character. Personally speaking, our industry needs him and misses him greatly.”

In his statement, British actor and writer Fry said Spacey had been both “clumsy and inappropriate” on many occasions, but to “devote a whole documentary to accusations that simply do not add up to crimes … how can that be considered proportionate and justified?”.

Fry said Spacey’s reputation had already been “wrecked”, adding: “Surely it is wrong to continue to batter a reputation on the strength of assertion and rhetoric rather than evidence and proof? Unless I’m missing something, I think he has paid the price.”

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A spokesperson for Channel 4 said: “Spacey Unmasked is an important film exploring the balance of power and inappropriate behaviour in a work environment, aiming to give a voice to those who have previously been unable to speak out.”

The Telegraph reported Oscar-winner F Murray Abraham said of Spacey: “I vouch for him unequivocally. Who are these vultures who attack a man who has publicly accepted his responsibility for certain behaviour, unlike so many others?”

Sir Trevor Nunn, the former artistic director of both the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre, also commented to say the UK believed in the rule of law and Spacey should benefit from that.

Having directed Spacey in two productions at The Old Vic in London, where the House Of Cards star was also artistic director, Sir Trevor described him as “an actor of genius, on stage and on screen”.

“In light of the court’s verdict, surely it is time for this man to be forgiven for whatever poor judgments he may have made in the past and allowed to resume his career, after seven years of exile?”

In an interview with the Telegraph, Spacey said he was the victim of a “rush to judgment” in the wake of the #MeToo movement against the Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.

Spacey won two Academy Awards as best supporting actor for The Usual Suspects in 1996 and best actor in 2000 for American Beauty, which also secured him a BAFTA for leading actor.

He was also known for the US adaptation of House of Cards, one of Netflix’s biggest and earliest hits, but was sacked when the allegations emerged during the show’s sixth season, and effectively ostracised from Hollywood.

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