Spacey, Kevin 1959-

views updated May 21 2018

Spacey, Kevin 1959-


Original name, Kevin Spacey Fowler; born July 26, 1959, in South Orange, NJ; son of Thomas (a technical writer) and Kathleen (a secretary; maiden name, Spacey) Fowler. Education: Attended Los Angeles Valley College; studied drama at the Juilliard School, 1979-81.

Politics: Democrat. Avocational Interests: Caring for dogs.


Office—Trigger Productions, 755 A North La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90069. Agent—William Morris Agency, One William Morris Pl., Beverly Hills, CA 90212. Manager—Joanne Horowitz Management, 9350 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 224, Beverly Hills, CA 90212.


Actor and comedian. New York Shakespeare Festival, worked as a production aide; appeared with the American National Theatre; performer at comedy clubs as a standup comedian and impressionist; Trigger Street Productions, founder, principal, and producer, 1997—; Old Vic Productions, London, consultant, 2000-03, then artistic director, 2003—. Provided voiceover for television commercial for Honda Accord, 2006; cohosted Nobel Prize concert for Al Gore, Oslo, Norway, 2007. St. Catherine's College, Oxford University, Oxford, UK, Cameron Mackintosh Visiting Professor of Contemporary Theatre, 2008. Worked at film and television studios, at a shoe store, as an apartment superintendent, and in the offices at Juilliard.

Awards, Honors:

Drama Desk Award nomination, best featured actor, and Antoinette Perry Award, best featured actor in a play, both 1990, for Lost in Yonkers; New York Film Critics Circle Award, best supporting actor, 1995, and MTV Movie Award, best villain, 1996, both for Seven; Boston Society of Film Critics Award, best supporting actor, National Board of Review Award, best supporting actor, Golden Space Needle Award, Seattle International Film Festival, all 1995, Academy Award, best supporting actor, Chicago Film Critics Association Award, best actor, Screen Actors Guild Award nomination, best supporting actor, and Golden Globe Award nomination, best supporting actor in a motion picture, all 1996, for The Usual Suspects; Independent Spirit Award nomination, best male lead, 1996, for Swimming with Sharks; Broadcast Film Critics Association Award, best supporting actor, 1996; Society of Texas Film Critics Award, best supporting actor, 1997, for Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil; Boston Society of Film Critics Award, best supporting actor, 1997, ALFS Award, actor of the year, London Film Critics Circle, best actor, Film Award nomination, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, and Screen Actors Guild Award nomination (with others), outstanding performance by a cast, all 1998, all for L.A. Confidential; Maverick Tribute Award, Cinequest San Jose Film Festival, 1998; Laurence Olivier Award, Society of London Theatre, London Critics Circle Award, and Evening Standard Award, all best actor, c. 1998, and Antoinette Perry Award, best actor in a drama, 1999, all for The Iceman Cometh; received star on Hollywood Walk of Fame, 1999; Film Excellence Award, Boston Film Critics Circle, 1999; Toronto Film Critics Association Award, best male performance, 1999, and Academy Award, best actor, Screen Actors Guild Awards, best actor and outstanding performance by a cast in a theatrical motion picture (with others), Film Award, best actor, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, ALFS Award, actor of the year, London Film Critics Circle, Chicago Film Critics Association Award, Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award, Florida Film Critics Circle Award, Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award, Sierra Award from the Las Vegas Film Critics Society, San Diego Film Critics Society Award, Southeastern Film Critics Association Award, and Online Film Critics Society Award, all best actor, Golden Globe Award nomination, best actor in a motion picture drama, American Comedy Award nomination, funniest lead actor in a motion picture, Golden Satellite Award nomination, best actor in a motion picture drama, International Press Academy, and Blockbuster Entertainment Award nomination, favorite actor in a drama, all 2000, all for American Beauty; Piper-Heidsieck Tribute to Independent Vision, Sundance Film Festival, 2000; Blockbuster Entertainment Award nomination, favorite actor in a drama or romance, 2001, for Pay It Forward; Golden Globe Award nomination, best performance by an actor, 2002, for The Shipping News; Peter J. Owens Award, San Francisco International Film Festival, 2002; Role Model Award, Young Hollywood Awards, 2002; Golden Globe Award nomination, best performance by an actor, 2005, Grammy Award nomination (with Phil Ramone), best compilation soundtrack, 2006, both for Beyond the Sea; Teen Choice Award nomination, movies—choice sleazebag, 2006, for Superman Returns; Drama Desk Award nomination, outstanding actor in a play, c. 2007, for A Moon for the Misbegotten; Emmy Award nomination, outstanding lead actor in a movie or miniseries, 2008, for Recount; Special Award (with others), best ensemble, ShoWest Convention, 2008, for 21.


Stage Appearances:

Messenger, Henry IV, Part One, New York Shakespeare Festival, Delacorte Theatre, New York City, 1981.

Oswald Alving, Ghosts, Brooks Atkinson Theatre, New York City, 1982.

Paul, Barbarians, Soho Repertory Theatre, New York City, 1982.

The Mousetrap, Barter Theatre, Abingdon/Fairfax, VA, 1982-83.

As You Like It, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Seattle, WA, 1983-84.

The Misanthrope, Seattle Repertory Theatre, 1983-84.

Artie and understudy for various roles, Hurlyburly, Ethel Barrymore Theatre, New York City, 1984-85.

Konstantin, A Seagull, Eisenhower Theatre, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, DC, 1985-86.

James "Jamie" Tyrone, Jr., Long Day's Journey into Night, Broadhurst Theatre, New York City, 1986.

Bernie, Right behind the Flag, Playwrights Horizons Theatre, New York City, 1988.

National Anthems, Long Wharf Theatre, New Haven, CT, 1988.

Louie, Lost in Yonkers, Richard Rodgers Theatre, New York City, 1991-93.

Gideon Le Roux, Playland, City Center Stage II, Manhattan Theatre Club, New York City, 1993.

Theodore "Hickey" Hickman, The Iceman Cometh, Almeida Theatre, London, 1997-98, then Brooks Atkinson Theatre, 1999.

Ben Cook, National Anthems, Old Vic Theatre, London, 2005.

C. K. Dexter Haven, The Philadelphia Story, Old Vic Theatre, 2005.

Title role, Richard II, Old Vic Theatre, 2005.

Jim Tyrone, A Moon for the Misbegotten, Old Vic Theatre, 2006, then Brooks Atkinson Theatre, 2007.

Charlie Fox, Speed-the-Plow, Old Vic Theatre, 2008.

Also appeared in Life and Limb; The Robbers; Uncle Vanya.

Stage Work:

Producer, Cobb, Lucille Lortel Theatre, New York City, 2000-2001.

Director, Cloacra, Old Vic Theatre, London, 2004.

Film Appearances:

Subway thief, Heartburn, Paramount, 1986.

Bob Speck, Working Girl, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1988.

Dwayne Hanson, Rocket Gibraltar, Columbia, 1988.

Kirgo, See No Evil, Hear No Evil, TriStar, 1989.

Mario, Dad, Universal, 1989.

Frank Curtain, A Show of Force, Paramount, 1990.

Richard Osborne, Henry & June, Universal, 1990.

Eddy Otis, Consenting Adults, Buena Vista, 1992.

John Williamson, Glengarry Glen Ross, New Line Cinema, 1992.

Buddy Ackerman, Swimming with Sharks (also known as The Boss, The Buddy Factor, The Director, Reel Life, and To Protect and Serve), Trimark Pictures, 1994.

Harry Kingsley, Iron Will, Buena Vista, 1994.

Lloyd Chasseur, The Ref (also known as Hostile Hostages), Buena Vista, 1994.

John Doe, Seven (also known as Se7en), New Line Cinema, 1995.

Major Casey Schuler, Outbreak, Warner Bros., 1995.

Roger "Verbal" Kint, The Usual Suspects (also known as Die Ueblichen verdaechtigen), Gramercy Pictures, 1995.

Earl of Buckingham and himself, Looking for Richard, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1996.

District attorney Rufus "Rufie" Buckley, A Time to Kill, Warner Bros., 1996.

Cannes Man (also known as Canne$ Man), Rocket Pictures Home Video, 1996.

Jim Williams, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, Warner Bros., 1997.

Mickey, Hurlyburly, Storm Entertainment, 1997.

Sergeant Jack Vincennes, L.A. Confidential, Warner Bros., 1997.

Lieutenant Chris Sabian, The Negotiator (also known as Verhandlungssache), Warner Bros., 1998.

Voice of Hopper, A Bug's Life (animated), Buena Vista, 1998.

Himself and Jack Vincennes, "L.A. Confidential": Off the Record, 1998.

Lester Burnham, American Beauty, DreamWorks SKG, 1999.

Voice of Hopper, It" Tough to Be a Bug (animated short), Walt Disney Productions, 1999.

Forever Hollywood (documentary), Esplanade Productions/The American Cinematheque, 1999.

Eugene Simonet, Pay It Forward, Warner Bros., 2000.

Himself, President Clinton: Final Days (short; also known as The Final Days), 2000.

Larry Mann, The Big Kahuna (also known as Hospitality Suite), Lions Gate Films, 2000.

Michael Lynch, Ordinary Decent Criminal (also known as Ein Ganz gewoehnlicher dieb), Miramax, 2000.

Himself, "American Beauty": Look Closer, 2000.

Narrator, Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure (documentary), White Mountain Films, 2001.

Prot, K-PAX (also known as K-PAX—Alles is moglich), Universal, 2001.

Quoyle, The Shipping News, Miramax, 2001.

(Uncredited) Narrator, The Tower of Babble (short), 2002.

Kevin Spacey as Dr. Evil in Austinpussy, Austin Powers in Goldmember (also known as Austin Powers: Goldmember), New Line Cinema, 2002.

Himself, Spotlight on Location: The Making of "K-PAX" (short), Universal Studios Home Video, 2002.

Himself, Keyser Soze: Lie or Legend? (documentary short), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Home Entertainment, 2002.

Himself, Round Up: Deposing "The Usual Suspects" (documentary), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Home Entertainment, 2002.

Albert T. Fitzgerald, The United States of Leland, Paramount Classics, 2003.

David Gale, The Life of David Gale (also known as Das Leben des David Gale), Universal, 2003.

Himself, Declaration of Independence (documentary short), 2003.

Bobby Darin, Beyond the Sea (also known as Beyond the Sea—Musik war sein leben), Lions Gate Films, 2004.

Himself—Actor, U.S.A., Freedom2speak v2.0 (documentary), 2004.

Levon Wallace, Edison (also known as Edison Force), Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, 2005.

Himself, Bobby's World: The Making of "Beyond the Sea" (short), Lions Gate Films Home Entertainment, 2005.

Lex Luthor, Superman Returns, Warner Bros., 2006.

Himself, Bryan's Journals (documentary), 2006.

Himself, Requiem for Krypton: Making "Superman Returns" (documentary), Warner Home Video, 2006.

Narrator, Uganda Rising (documentary), Mindset Media, 2006.

Clyde Northcut, Fred Claus, Warner Bros., 2007.

Voice, Machine Child (short), 2007.

Himself, AFI's 100 Years100 Greatest Movies: 10th Anniversary Edition (documentary), SFM Entertainment, 2007.

Professor Micky Rosa, 21 (also known as 21—The Movie), Columbia, 2008.

Narrator, Hackers Wanted (documentary; also known as Hackers 3: Can You Hack It?), 2008.

Major Banks, Telstar, 2008.

Film Work:

Coproducer, Swimming with Sharks (also known as The Boss, The Buddy Factor, The Director, Reel Life, and To Protect and Serve), Trimark Pictures, 1994.

Executive producer, Lonely Place, 1996.

Director, Albino Alligator, Miramax, 1997.

Executive producer, Interstate 84, Pop. 403 Entertainment Group/Trigger Street Productions, 2000.

Producer, The Big Kahuna (also known as Hospitality Suite), Lions Gate Films, 2000.

Executive producer, Interstate 84, 2000.

Producer, The United States of Leland, Paramount Classics, 2003.

Producer,, 2004.

Director, producer, and musician, Beyond the Sea (also known as Beyond the Sea—Musik war sein leben), Lions Gate Films, 2004.

Producer, The Sasquatch Dumpling Gang (also known as The Sasquatch Gang), Screen Media Films, 2006.

Executive producer, Mr. Gibb, 2006.

Producer, Mini's First Time, First Independent Pictures, 2006.

Executive producer, Bernard and Doris, HBO Films, 2007.

Producer, 21 (also known as 21—The Movie), Columbia, 2008.

Producer, Fanboys, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 2008.

Producer, Columbus Day, William Morris Independent, 2008.

Television Appearances; Series:

Mel Profitt, Wiseguy, CBS, 1988.

Television Appearances; Miniseries:

Wes Brent, The Murder of Mary Phagan (also known as The Ballad of Mary Phagan), NBC, 1988.

Television Appearances; Movies:

Jim Bakker, Fall from Grace, NBC, 1990.

Wade Black, When You Remember Me (also known as The Amazing Legacy of Michael Patrick Smith, The Legacy, and The Legacy of Michael Patrick Smith), ABC, 1990.

Jim Price, Doomsday Gun, HBO, 1994.

Ron Klain, Recount, 2008.

Television Appearances; Specials:

James "Jamie" Tyrone, Jr., "Long Day's Journey into Night," Broadway on Showtime, Showtime, 1987, then American Playhouse, PBS, 1988.

A Salute to Jack Lemmon (also known as The 16th American Film Institute Life Achievement Award: A Salute to Jack Lemmon and The American Film Institute Salute to Jack Lemmon), 1988.

The 45th Annual Tony Awards, CBS, 1991.

Clarence Darrow (title role), "Darrow," American Playhouse, PBS, 1991.

Presenter, The 2nd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, NBC, 1996.

The 1996 MTV Movie Awards, MTV, 1996.

Jack Lemmon: America's Everyman, 1996.

A Salute to Clint Eastwood (also known as The 24th American Film Institute Life Achievement Award: A Salute to Clint Eastwood and The American Film Institute Salute to Clint Eastwood), 1996.

The 68th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1996.

Burt Lancaster, AMC, 1997.

A Gala for the President at Ford's Theatre, ABC, 1997.

Presenter, The 69th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1997.

The Warner Bros. Story: No Guts, No Glory—75 Years of Stars, TNT, 1998.

Narrator, Steve McQueen: The King of Cool, AMC, 1998.

Presenter, The 55th Annual Golden Globe Awards, NBC, 1998.

Narrator, Hitchcock: Shadow of a Genius (also known as Dial H Hitchcock: The Genius behind the Showman and Dial H for Hitchcock), TCM, 1999.

AFI's 100 Years100 Stars, CBS, 1999.

Saturday Night Live: 25th Anniversary, NBC, 1999.

Forever Hollywood, 1999.

The 53rd Annual Tony Awards, CBS, 1999.

The Kennedy Center Honors: A Celebration of the Performing Arts, CBS, 1999.

AFI's 100 Years, 100 Laughs: America's Funniest Movies, CBS, 2000.

David Blaine: Frozen in Time, 2000.

My VH1 Music Awards, VH1, 2000.

Presenter, The 72nd Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 2000.

The 6th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, TNT, 2000.

(Uncredited) Presenter, The 2000 Blockbuster Entertainment Awards, Fox, 2000.

Presenter, The 5th Annual GQ Men of the Year Awards, Fox, 2000.

Host, Come Together: A Night for John Lennon's Words and Music, TNT, 2001.

Presenter, The 73rd Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 2001.

Voice, War Letters, PBS, 2001.

United We Stand, ABC, 2001.

Presenter, The 58th Annual Golden Globe Awards, NBC, 2001.

"Declaration of Independence," Independence Day 2001, ABC, 2001.

Judi Dench: A BAFTA Tribute, BBC, 2002.

Playboy: Inside the Playboy Mansion, Arts and Entertainment, 2002.

Presenter, The 74th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 2002.

Narrator, America Rebuilds: A Year at Ground Zero, PBS, 2002.

Jeff Bridges: Building Bridges, Arts and Entertainment, 2002.

Once Upon a Time in Utah, Sundance, 2003.

(Uncredited) The 75th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 2003.

The Score, Trio, 2003.

Various, Freedom: A History of Us, PBS, 2003.

Tsunami Aid: A Concert of Hope, 2005.

The 62nd Annual Golden Globe Awards, NBC, 2005.

The 28th Annual Kennedy Center Honors: A Celebration of the Performing Arts, CBS, 2005.

The 2006 MTV Movie Awards, MTV, 2006.

Narrator, Look, Up in the Sky: The Amazing Story of Superman, Arts and Entertainment, 2006.

Back in Blue: The "Superman Returns" Movie Special, MTV, 2006.

"Superman Returns": Inside the Journey, 2006.

The 52nd Annual Drama Desk Awards, 2007.

07 Spaceys, Space Channel, 2007.

Presenter, The 61st Annual Tony Awards, CBS, 2007.

Reel Comedy: Fred Claus, Comedy Central, 2007.

AFI's 100 Years100 Movies, CBS, 2007.

Presenter, AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Al Pacino, USA Network, 2007.

Presenter, The Orange British Academy Film Awards, BBC, 2008.

Presenter, The British Academy Film Awards, BBC America, 2008.

Television Appearances; Pilots:

Narrator, On Record: The Soundtrack of Our Lives, PBS, 2008.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

Senator Rourke, "The Senator, the Movie Star, and the Mob," Crime Story, NBC, 1987.

Detective Sergeant Cole, "Solo," The Equalizer, CBS, 1987.

"Clean Slate," Unsub, 1989.

Giles Keenan, "Guess Who's Coming to Murder," L.A. Law, NBC, 1992.

Chris Boden, "Heros Exoletus," Tribeca, Fox, 1993.

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, NBC, 1995, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2006.

Inside the Actors Studio, NBC, 1995.

"Outbreak," HBO First Look, HBO, 1995.

Host, Saturday Night Live (also known as SNL), NBC, 1997, 2006.

The Entertainment Business, Bravo, 1998.

The Late Show with David Letterman (also known as Letterman and The Late Show), CBS, 1997, 2001, 2003, 2006, 2007.

The Howard Stern Radio Show, 1999.

Late Night with Conan O'Brien, NBC, 1999, 2004, 2006, 2008.

Inside the Actors Studio, Bravo, 2000.

"Filmen American Beauty," Nyhetsmorgon, 2000.

Rotten TV, 2000.

"The Making of Pay It Forward," HBO First Look, HBO, 2000.

"Remembering Jack Lemmon," Larry King Live, CNN, 2001.

Reader, "War Letters," The American Experience, PBS, 2001.

Listen Up! Charles Barkley with Ernie Johnson (also known as Listen Up!), TNT, 2002.

Parkinson, BBC, 2002, 2004, 2006.

The Charlie Rose Show, PBS, 2003, 2005.

Sunday Morning Shootout (also known as Hollywood Shootout and Shootout), AMC, 2004.

"Val Kilmer," Biography, Arts and Entertainment, 2004.

GMTV, ITV, 2004.

The View, ABC, 2004.

The Daily Show (also known as A Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Jon Stewart, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Global Edition), Comedy Central, 2004, 2006.

This Morning (also known as This Morning with Richard and Judy), ITV, 2004, 2008.

Live with Regis and Kelly, syndicated, 2004, 2007, 2008.

The Tony Danza Show, syndicated, 2005.

Caiga quien caiga, 2005.

Breakfast with Frost, BBC1, 2005.

Sunday AM (also known as The Andrew Marr Show), BBC, 2005.

Going Hollywood, The Learning Channel, 2005.

"Jack Lemmon," The Hollywood Greats (also known as Hollywood Greats), 2006.

"Superman Returns: The Journey Continues," HBO First Look, HBO, 2006.

HypaSpace (also known as HypaSpace Daily and HypaSpace Weekly), Space Channel, 2006.

Enough Rope with Andrew Denton, ABC [Australia], 2006.

Corazon de, 2006.

Movie Rush, Channel 4, 2006.

"Leading Men," Working in the Theatre, 2007.

Entertainment Tonight (also known as E.T.), syndicated, 2007, 2008.

"Kevin Spacey at the Old Vic," The South Bank Show, ITV, 2008.

Richard & Judy, Channel 4, 2008.

Fama Show, 2008.

Today (also known as NBC News Today and The Today Show), NBC, 2008.

Television Work; Series:

Executive producer, High Stakes with Ben Mezrich, truTV, 2005.

Television Executive Producer; Movies:

Uncle Frank, HBO, 2002.

Bernard and Doris, HBO, 2008.

Recount, HBO, 2008.



Himself, Film-Fest DVD: Issue 3—Toronto, 2000.

Himself, Film-Fest DVD: Issue 4—Hawaii, 2000.

Himself, Playboy Exposed: Playboy Mansion Parties Uncensored, 2001.

Presenter, The 2nd Annual Directors Guild of Great Britain DGGB Awards, Directors Guild of Great Britain, 2005.

Video Games:

Voice of Lex Luthor, Superman Returns, Electronic Arts, 2006.



International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, Volume 3: Actors and Actresses, 4th ed., St. James Press, 2000.

Newsmakers 1996, Issue 4, Gale, 1996.


Economist, October 2, 2004, p. 85; September 23, 2006, p. 96.

Entertainment Weekly, September, 1996, p. 52; October 19, 2001, p. 22; April 13, 2007, p. 24.

Esquire, January, 1996, p. 23.

Evening Standard, February 10, 2005, p. 16; February 18, 2005, p. 31; May 3, 2005, p. 4; May 5, 2006, p. 12; May 1, 2008, p. 43.

Interview, December, 2007, p. 80.

Los Angeles, October, 1999, p. 122.

Los Angeles Times, April 29, 1990, p. 77; August 13, 1995, p. 4.

New York Times, March 3, 1991.

People Weekly, June 10, 1991, pp. 53-54.

Philadelphia Inquirer, August 16, 1995, p. G2.

Playboy, October, 1999.

Premiere, October, 1992, p. 44.

San Francisco Chronicle, May 7, 1995, p. 30.

Time, September 15, 1997, p. 97.

TV Guide, April 28, 1990, pp. 30-35.

USA Today, October 27, 1992, p. D6.

Variety, September 13, 2004, p. 56; May 15, 2006, p. 46.

Spacey, Kevin

views updated May 18 2018


Born: Kevin Spacey Fowler, 26 July 1959, South Orange, New Jersey. Education: Attended Los Angeles Valley College; studied drama at Juilliard School, 1979–81. Career: Appeared on TV series Wiseguy, 1988. Awards: Tony Award for best featured actor in a drama, for Lost in Yonkers, 1991; Academy Award and National Board of Review Award for best supporting actor, The Usual Suspects, 1996; Boston Society of Film Critics Award for best supporting actor, 1997, and London Critics Circle Award for supporting actor of the year, 1998, both for L.A. Confidential; Academy Award and British Academy Award, for best actor in a leading role, London Critics Circle Award, for actor of the year, and Screen Actors Guild Award, for outstanding performance by a cast in a theatrical motion picture, for American Beauty, 2000. Address: Altman, Greenfield, and Salvaje, 120 West 45th Street, 36th Floor, New York, NY 10036, U.S.A.

Films as Actor:


Heartburn (Nichols) (as Subway Thief)


Wiseguy (Holcomb, Marshall—for TV) (as Mel Profitt); Long Day's Journey Into Night (Miller—for TV) (as James "Jamie" Tyrone, Jr.)


Rocket Gibraltar (Petrie) (as Dwayne Hanson); Working Girl (Nichols) (as Bob Speck); The Murder of Mary Phagan (Hale—for TV) (as Wes Brent)


Dad (Goldberg) (as Mario); See No Evil, Hear No Evil (Hiller) (as Kirgo)


A Show of Force (Barreto) (as Frank Curtin); When You Remember Me (Winer—for TV) (as Wade); Henry & June (Kaufman) (as Richard Osborn); Fall from Grace (Arthur—for TV) (as Jim Bakker)


Darrow (Coles—for TV) (as Clarence Darrow)


Consenting Adults (Pakula) (as Eddy Otis); Glengarry Glen Ross (Foley) (as John Williamson)


Doomsday Gun (Young—for TV) (as Jim Price); Iron Will (Haid) (as Harry Kingsley); The Ref (Hostile Hostages) (Demme) (as Lloyd Chasseur); Swimming with Sharks (The Boss) (The Buddy Factor) (Huang) (as Buddy Ackerman) (+ pr)


Se7en (Seven) (Fincher) (as John Doe); The Usual Suspects (Singer) (as Verbal Kint); Outbreak (Petersen) (as Casey Schuler)


A Time to Kill (Schumacher) (as Rufus Buckley); Looking for Richard (Pacino) (as Buckingham/Himself)


Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (Eastwood) (as Jim Williams); L.A. Confidential (Hanson) (as Jack Vincennes)


A Bug's Life (Lasseter, Stanton) (as voice of Hopper); Hurlyburly (Drazan) (as Mickey); The Negotiator (Gray) (as Lt. Chris Sabian); Steve McQueen: The King of Cool (Katz—for TV) (as Narrator)


American Beauty (Mendes) (as Lester Burnham); Forever Hollywood (Glassman, McCarthy) (as Himself); Hitchcock: Shadow of a Genius (Dial H Hitchcock: The GeniusBehind the Showman, Dial H for Hitchcock) (Haimes—for TV) (as Narrator); Saturday Night Live: 25th Anniversary (McCarthy—for TV) (as Himself); The Big Kahuna (Swanbeck) (as Larry Mann) (+ pr)


Ordinary Decent Criminal (O'Sullivan) (as Michael Lynch); Pay It Forward (Leder)

Other Films:


Albino Alligator (d)


By SPACEY: articles—

Interview in Écran Fantastique (Paris), no. 143, July-August 1995.

Interview in Télérama (Paris), no. 2387, 11 October 1995.

Interview in Time Out (London), no. 1337, 3 April 1996.

On SPACEY: articles—

Lyttle, John, "John Lyttle on Cinema," in The Independent, 31 May 1994.

Hunter, Allan, "Who IS Kevin Spacey," in The Scotsman, 19 July 1997.

Epstein, Jan, "Demon Dogs: L.A. Confidential," in Cinema Papers (Fitzroy), no. 121, November 1997.

Wolf, Matt, "The Unusual Suspect," in Asian Age, 11 August 1998.

Eimer, David, "Spacey Exploration," in Time Out (London), 27 October 1999.

"The Name of the Rose," in Film Review, February 2000.

* * *

"Exciting and dangerous though he is," wrote critic John Lyttle in 1994, "Kevin Spacey will never be a front rank film star: there's something a mite too mean in that pig-cum-pug face and beefy body." A cautionary object-lesson in "never say never," certainly; but the steady rise in Spacey's status since that judgement attests the actor's impressive skill in expanding his range, effecting a turnaround in his screen persona that still leaves room for the deep-dyed scuzzbag roles that first made his name. Not since Lee Marvin, perhaps, has a born heavy so persuasively remoulded himself into star material.

With hindsight the potential seems self-evident, right from his screen debut in Mike Nichols' Heartburn when, orange-haired and saturnine, he coolly mugs Meryl Streep's entire therapy group and briefly galvanises an otherwise vapid movie. In Glengarry Glen Ross, a showpiece of ensemble acting, Spacey's self-serving office manager astutely holds his own with actors of the calibre of Jack Lemmon and Al Pacino. But his breakthrough year didn't come until 1995, when three films in quick succession—The Usual Suspects, Seven, and Swimming with Sharks—transformed him from a cult actor treasured by connoisseurs to a major star in the making. He played bad guys in all three films, but in such utterly different registers that any lingering thoughts of typecasting were banished.

With his dark eyes and heavy, sullen jowls Spacey scarcely fitted the Hollywood norm for male leads. "I keep seeing the same people," he observed of his fellow-actors, "and I don't look like them. I have to go at it a different way." His way of going at it involved discarding the stock elements in any role, no matter how cursory or underwritten, in favour of a layered, nuanced performance that suggested complexities swirling beneath the surface, facets yet to be exposed. "If you look at a person through only one lens, then you miss truth," he once remarked. "People can be many things at many times." He was referring specifically to The Usual Suspects (and not just to his own part in it), but the principle applies to most of the roles he's played.

As the parts have grown larger and more substantial with his improving status, this technique has allowed Spacey to find moments when a character reveals hidden elements, not only to us but to himself. Such a flash of self-revelation comes at a key moment in L.A. Confidential when smug "celebrity cop" Jack Vincennes suddenly discovers, to his own dismay, that he has a conscience. Up to this point Spacey has given a preening, dancing performance, as though Vincennes were acknowledging unheard applause on each entry. (He apparently studied several of Dean Martin's films while preparing for the role.) Then all at once, as this unwonted aspect of himself makes itself known, a stillness grips him and a look of inner-directed bemusement fills his eyes: what is this and how did it get here?

Even as producer-from-hell Buddy Ackerman in Swimming with Sharks, the least complex of his three 1995 bad guys, Spacey adds layers and ambiguities for us to explore: Buddy's a monster, no question, but we also sense the man putting on his monster act, standing back and savouring his own sadistic riffs. (Does this make him more hateful, or less?) In The Usual Suspects, his tour de force of verbal and physical deviousness lurks at the very heart of the labyrinth. Now slumped in maudlin self-abasement, now taking off on another fluent, meandering yarn, his flickering eyes restlessly sizing up the odds, Spacey gives a performance of such masterly indirection that the crucial question (is he or isn't he Keyzer Soze?) remains impossible to resolve, even on multiple viewings.

Between his two Oscars—Best Supporting Actor for The Usual Suspects, Best Actor for American Beauty—Spacey deliberately set out "to move away from the roles that I first got noticed for. . . . A rather dark impression had been made, because I was playing characters that were quite manipulative and villainous and seemed to be about ten steps ahead of everyone else. That was really great territory to explore, but I started to see that the offers I was getting for other movies were the same roles in lamer films."

By way of transition, he tried out a varied spread of good-bad roles. Besides L.A. Confidential there was his gay Southern socialite in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, a model of silky underplaying let down by Eastwood's lethargic direction; and his teaming with Samuel L. Jackson in the police thriller The Negotiator—"I wanted to see if I could do a big commercial action movie that I could live with myself in the morning about." He also collected rave notices in O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh on the London stage, and made his directorial debut with Albino Alligator, a psychological heist-gone-wrong drama. His direction was fluent and assured, if a touch under-ambitious.

As Lester Burnham, the shop-soiled protagonist of American Beauty, Spacey was at last given room to show what he could do. For him, it was a link back to his theatre work, where rather than being cast as heavies, "I played men more like Lester—having an internal turmoil with themselves." Lifting the role, as ever, well clear of easy caricature, Spacey takes the stock figure of the unhappily-married, midlife-crisis suburban male and imbues him with warmth, urgency, and a self-deprecating hangdog charm. A man who tries to recapture his lost youth out of lust for a 16-year-old schoolgirl could so easily have appeared unsavoury or contemptible; Spacey, without making any crass bids for sympathy, holds us with him right to the film's final, unlooked-for moment of redemption. Kevin Spacey's status as a major movie star is now secure. What he does with it should be well worth watching.

—Philip Kemp