After a flourishing career in theater and cinema, where his antihero characters won him two Oscars, Kevin Spacey was caught up in a series of sexual assault accusations, which relegated him to the rank of persona non grata at Hollywood.
Built on counter-intuitive roles, a forty-year-old loser wanting a teenager in American Beautypsychopathic serial killer in Seven or cartoon villain in Superman Returnsthe actor’s career came to a halt at the end of 2017. The headliner of the series House of Cardswas then one of the first artists swept away by the #MeToo global wave. Denounced by several young men with similar accounts, he, despite his denials, disappeared from the screens and the boards.
Since then, his public appearances have been limited to his disputes before the courts. He is due to appear in London on Friday on new charges dating back to the early 2000s.
Born in New Jersey, the 63-year-old actor grew up in California. Briefly educated in a military school, before being sent back, he grew up there under the authority of a father whom he recently described as “neo-Nazi” and “white supremacist” during a trial in New York.
The father harbored an aversion to homosexuals and did not appreciate his son’s passion for the theater, according to the actor. This did not prevent him from joining the prestigious conservatory of the Juilliard School in New York in 1979. On the boards, the actor met his first success in 1986 in a classic of American theater, The Long Journey to Nightby Eugene O’Neill. The same year, he made his first film appearance, with a minor role as a subway pilferer in The burn.
Human darkness quickly becomes his trademark. Cynical Hollywood producer in Swimming with Sharksin 1994, Spacey won his first Oscar the following year for a supporting role as a mysterious mobster in Usual Suspects. In 1995, he also burst the screen as a fanatical serial killer, in the apocalyptic Sevenby David Fincher. Before achieving fame in 1999 withAmerican Beautyfor which he won the Oscar for best actor, thanks to his character as a frustrated forty-year-old who rebels against the banality of his suburban life and becomes infatuated with a friend of his daughter.
Beyond Hollywood, the actor does not abandon the theater.
In 2003, he was appointed artistic director of the Old Vic in London, a historic establishment which he directed for more than ten years. He plays Shakespeare there and hosts modern stagings of great American classics. A London era that is now catching up with him. In addition to the new charges to which he must respond on Friday, the actor is being prosecuted in the United Kingdom for sexual assaults on three men between March 2005 and April 2013. Allegations he has always rejected.
The actor fell to the height of his fame, after five seasons spent on the poster of the seriesHouse of Cardsglobal success of Netflix where he camps an American parliamentarian without faith or law, ready to do anything to become president.
In October 2017, three weeks after the #MeToo surge against producer Harvey Weinstein, actor Anthony Rapp explains that he was sexually assaulted at age 14 by Kevin Spacey in 1986.
The star immediately offers his “deepest apologies” for his “drunk and profoundly inappropriate (male) behavior”. An act dictated according to him by his agents, which he now regrets. “I learned the lesson, never apologize for something you didn’t do,” he said in October during his civil trial in New York. He also denied trying to create a diversion by publicly coming out as gay – an open secret in the industry – during the scandal.
Anthony Rapp’s accusations, quickly followed by other allegations in the US and UK, caused Hollywood to relegate him to phantom status. In the space of two months, Kevin Spacey was thus disembarked fromHouse of Cardsand urgently erased from the filmAll the money in the world: all of his takes had to be replayed by Canadian Christopher Plummer.
Deprived of the scene, the actor has never been sentenced in court. A New York court recently found him not guilty, and sexual assault charges against an 18-year-old bar worker in Massachusetts were dropped in 2019.