When Anthony Rapp dropped his bombshell allegations regarding Kevin Spacey, he shocked the world. Sadly, the shock was not due to surprise that a celebrity would be accused of sexual misconduct. By that point, the Bill Cosby scandal had erupted, and the #MeToo Movement was gaining traction.
No, the Spacey news hit hard because of his enormous stature in Hollywood. He was larger than life, considered one of the best actors of his generation and one of the most popular. He was everywhere, until he wasn’t. It happened overnight. The allegations dropped, Spacey tweeted out an apology (of sorts), and then he disappeared. Since that late October night in 2017, Spacey has rarely been seen or heard. Some say he’s in hiding or wearing disguises. Others say he will never work again.
Yet, despite the fact that everyone has an opinion about him, no one really knows what the future has in store for Spacey. In fact, few even know what his present looks like. Here is what life is like for Kevin Spacey today.
More and more allegations
Though Anthony Rapp is the brave man responsible for first bringing Kevin Spacey’s misconducts to light, he certainly wasn’t the last person to accuse the actor of wrongdoing. In fact, at least 15 other accusers came forward with claims about Spacey within about two weeks of Rapp telling his story.
According to the claims, Spacey targeted young actors, bartenders, artists, filmmakers, journalists, and film workers. Several of the accusers, including Harry Dreyfuss, the son of actor Richard Dreyfuss, were in high school at the time of the alleged assaults. In a self-written piece on BuzzFeed News, Dreyfuss shared that Spacey attempted to seduce him and then groped him while they were in the same room as his father.
After the Rapp story first broke, officials at The Old Vic, the theater where Spacey worked for years, launched an investigation and heard « 20 personal testimonies shared of alleged inappropriate behaviour carried out by Kevin Spacey during his time as Artistic Director. »
According to TMZ, several of the accusations against Spacey, both in the U.S. and abroad, have been investigated by police, and at least one other man, a Californian masseur, has taken legal action against Spacey.
He abandoned his friends and co-workers
After the scandal broke, most people expected Kevin Spacey to withdraw from his public life, if only temporarily. He did, but Spacey took that even further. He retreated from everyone and everything, not just the public eye. According to Entertainment Tonight, the actor even distanced himself from his closest friends. « He has not been communicating with people in his inner circle since, » a source close to the actor said. « He’s been MIA, even from those closest to him. »
Even when the fate of House of Cards hung in the balance because of the scandal, Robin Wright told Net-A-Porter that she didn’t hear a peep from her former co-star. « He’ll reach out when he’s ready, I’m sure, » she said, adding, « I think that’s the way it should go. »
Director Ridley Scott, who made the decision to replace Spacey at the last minute in All the Money in the World, admitted that he was « pissed » about the actor’s silence. While speaking at a BAFTA event, Life in Pictures: Sir Ridley Scott, the director explained, « If Kevin had said, « Dude I’m sorry about this but that’s the way it is. » And I’d have said, « Fine but I’m going to replace you. » Instead I haven’t heard from him or anybody representing him since that point. »
In Kevin Spacey’s half-apology/half-coming out letter, he announced that his personal journey « starts with examining [his] own behavior. » Apparently, that examination entailed checking into a very prestigious sex addiction treatment center. Per US Weekly, a representative of Spacey stated, « [He] is taking the time necessary to seek evaluation and treatment. » The source of that treatment, Gentle Path at the Meadows in Wickenburg, Arizona, also treated Harvey Weinstein, David Duchovny, and Tiger Woods (though Woods is said to have attended the program’s Hattiesburg, Miss. facility).
Speaking to CBS News, Gentle Path’s founder, Patrick Carnes, described the center as a « boot camp, » a place where patients participate in a 45-day « detox » for approximately $58,000. Yet, the commitment goes beyond that. Patients sign a contract in which they agree to abstain from sex for eight weeks.
Spacey, who was photographed at the center shortly after his arrival, didn’t make it eight weeks or even 45 days. According to an anonymous friend speaking to The Daily Mail, Spacey « only stuck it out for three weeks. »
Hideouts and isolation
After leaving the Gentle Path treatment center, Kevin Spacey’s whereabouts became harder to track. That hasn’t stopped the rumor mill though. According to some sources connected to Spacey speaking to The Daily Mail, the actor is living in pure isolation.
« He’s living as a hermit in the Cook Islands, » said a former acquaintance of Spacey. « He’s keeping his head down until this blows over. » Yet, another source, one that worked with Spacey on House of Cards, thinks that the actor is living in France. « He’s been in the South of France living on a big estate, » the man told the news outlet. « He’s been working out like crazy, doing massive oil paintings and keeping a low profile. »
Then there’s the former associate that told The Daily Mail that « Kevin’s been staying at a friend’s place in Thousand Oaks. » He added, « He’s become a hermit and never goes out. » Or perhaps he is going out and, like an anonymous source suggested, « he’s not been seen because he is going out in public wearing a disguise. » After all, as the source ponders, « He’s spent his life transforming himself into other characters – why not now? »
The face of unforgiveness
While the magnitude of the Kevin Spacey story is impossible to deny, the actor’s name has become part of a different narrative. Hollywood has long been a pretty forgiving place for stars with checkered pasts, but how much exactly is forgivable? Where do we draw the line?
When asked if second chances are available for Spacey, Robin Wright chose her words carefully. « I believe every human being has the ability to reform. Has the ability to reform, » she told Net-A-Porter. « In that sense, second chances, or whatever you are going to call it – absolutely, I believe in that. It’s called growth. »
Paul Schrader garnered some controversy by lamenting the censoring of Spacey’s art. In a since-deleted Facebook post (via The Playlist), the famed director stated, « Spacey should be punished for any crimes his actual person created. But not for art. » He then argued, « All art is a crime. Punishing him as an artist only diminishes art. Put Celine in jail, put Pound in jail, punish Wilde and Bruce if you must, but do not censor their art. »
While Schrader’s point might be muddled, it’s part of a difficult overarching question. At what point do fans refuse to exonerate one’s actions? Will Spacey become the poster child for unforgivable sins in Hollywood?
An entire past reevaluated
The allegations against Kevin Spacey stopped his career in its tracks, but the troubling news has also impacted his past. Armed with the knowledge of what Spacey was capable of, people have reevaluated Spacey’s entire career with a hindsight bias of sorts. Former peers, like Victoria Featherstone of the Royal Court Theatre, revealed that Spacey’s misconducts were not well-kept secrets. « Kevin Spacey would be one of the people that people have had concerns about, yes, » the artistic director admitted to Radio 4’s Today.
Spacey’s co-stars also looked back at his behavior and considered his on-set conduct. Guy Pearce, who worked with Spacey on L.A. Confidential, called Spacey « a handsy guy » on Andrew Denton’s Interview. Taron Egerton, in an interview with the Sunday Telegraph (via Metro), called Spacey « an audacious flirt » on the set of Billionaire Boys Club, but added that he « was never inappropriate with me. »
Spacey’s former work and public appearances were re-examined under this newfound lens as well. His performances in Working Girl and American Beauty, were deemed « creepy, » eerie representations of art imitating life. Even his Academy Award acceptance speech in 2000 now appeared to carry malicious undertones, as Spacey spoke about his « worst qualities » and how « any single act from any single person put out of context is damnable. » In fact, Spacey’s entire career is now placed in a new, damnable context.
You’ll never work in this town again
While accepting his tribute at the American Cinematheque, the once-troubled actor, Robert Downey Jr., asked the star-studded audience to forgive Mel Gibson. It appears that on that night, Gibson’s road toward a comeback was paved. It’s possible, as suggested by Vox, that Gibson’s comeback sets the precedent for those publicly scorned by the #MeToo Movement. But are these comebacks one-size-fits-all? It doesn’t seem possible for Kevin Spacey, at least, not yet.
According the Paul Schrader, he approached a producer with a script that « screamed Kevin Spacey for the lead. » Schrader went on to explain that, « [He] told the producer [He]’d direct it if they would make it with Kevin, » but was told, quite simply, « that was not possible. » Schrader is not alone in his support for Spacey. British actor Antony Sher, while speaking to BBC Newsnight regarding the possibility of a Spacey comeback, said, « I hope so, because he’s an absolutely tremendous actor and if, I guess, in the past we have forgiven people’s personal weaknesses it’s a tremendous loss to acting. »
Many other people, however, believe that this is a problem that time cannot and will not solve. Bryan Cranston, who called Spacey « a phenomenal actor, but … not a very good person, » spoke bluntly to BBC Newsbeat saying that Spacey’s « career now I think is over. »
Scrubbed from past work
In a flash, Kevin Spacey became a PR nightmare. Studios scrambled to manage projects that involved the actor. His biggest project, Netflix’s House of Cards, halted production and then suspended Spacey indefinitely. When the show returned for its final season, Spacey’s character was gone. The team behind All the Money in the World, took it a step further. With a completed film in hand, director Ridley Scott removed Spacey from the film and re-shot his scenes with another actor, Christopher Plummer. « My decision was almost immediate, » Scott told The Guardian. « I said: ‘We need to re-do this.’ I phoned Christopher and asked if he’d meet me in New York. Met him that night. »
And so it went. The role was re-shot, and the film was a success, all things considered. But not everyone agreed with the decision to cut Spacey from the film. Speaking at the San Sebastian International Film Festival, Judi Dench (via Variety) said that she « can’t approve, in any way, of the fact that — whatever [Spacey] has done — that you then start to cut him out of the films. »
She asked, « Are we to go back throughout history and anyone who has misbehaved in any way, or who has broken the law, or who has committed some kind of offence, are they always going to be cut out? Are we going to extrude them from our history? »
The final film?
The allegations surfaced, Kevin Spacey withdrew into the shadows, and all of his projects erased him. That was it. Fans would be forgiven for considering his legacy in acting a finished story, but they were wrong.
In the summer of 2018, a new film starring Spacey hit video-on-demand services. New, but not really. While Billionaire Boys Club snuck up on fans, the film had been completed for some time. Like All the Money in the World, it was in post-production when Anthony Rapp shared his story, but, unlike the Ridley Scott film, Billionaire Boys Club didn’t re-shoot Spacey’s scenes.
Though the film’s release was delayed, a decision was made to try and salvage the project, Spacey infection be damned. In a statement made to The Wrap, the film’s distributor said, « We hope these distressing allegations pertaining to one person’s behavior — that were not publicly known when the film was made almost 2.5 years ago — do not tarnish the release. »
The release was tarnished. First on video on demand and then in a small theatrical run, Billionaire Boys Club bombed. Critics savaged the film and it opened to one of the most embarrassing opening weekends in movie history, earning $126 on opening night, adding a final and very dark black mark to Spacey’s professional legacy.
Was he indirectly responsible for failed films?
When Netflix announced it would end House of Cards, Anthony Rapp, in a follow-up BuzzFeed interview called it an « unintended consequence. » He admitted that he felt bad for all the people who would lose work because of Spacey’s actions. Yet, House of Cards was able to finish without major disruptions, at least financially. Other projects were not so lucky.
In the same announcement that Netflix made regarding Kevin Spacey’s removal from House of Cards, the streaming giant stated that another Spacey project, the film Gore, had been shelved indefinitely. Spacey’s other completed films, Billionaire Boy’s Club and All the Money in the World, were still released but under vastly different circumstances.
Whereas All the Money in the World removed Spacey, Billionaire Boy’s Club left him in and that decision apparently resonated with audiences. Taron Egerton, one of the film’s stars, said (via Metro), « It’s sad that [Spacey’s] professional demise threw such a shadow over our film. » He added, « It didn’t quite come together in the way it should have. Which is really disappointing and horrible for all the talented people who worked on that film. »
Perhaps the most (or only) positive thing to come from the Kevin Spacey scandal is that his indecencies led to some changes, particularly within the companies he worked with. Netflix, for example, investigated Spacey’s conduct with the cast and crew of House of Cards. The company quickly fixed the Spacey problem, protecting others from future issues.
The Old Vic Theatre in London, England, the place that Spacey was artistic director for 11 years from 2004 to 2015, performed a thorough investigation into Spacey’s past and discovered numerous allegations of misconduct. The theater then instituted new protective measures for actors and staff members. Called The Way Forward, this new protective system provides training and support for its staff. Counseling services and help lines were set up for victim support, as well as « guardians, » staff acting as direct lines of support for people who wish to keep concerns confidential without pursuing formal avenues for filing complaints.
Systemic changes such as these help to stop such horrible offenses from happening in the future and reward the courage of those who share their stories.