Friday, April 28, 2017

My Chat with Kevin Spacey

The late, great Jack Lemmon would be so proud of him.  Just like Lemmon, Kevin Spacey's mentor, Spacey is a two-time Oscar winner.  Both he and Jack Lemmon received their first Oscars in the Best Supporting Actor category.  Their second came in the Best Actor category.  Kevin Spacey won for THE USUAL SUSPECTS (1995) and AMERICAN BEAUTY (1999).
Kevin Spacey is good at drama, good at comedy, and he's a good singer.  If you saw the NBC special saluting Tony Bennett for his 90th birthday last year, you know exactly what I mean.  Spacey, who did all his vocals in his Bobby Darin biopic, 2004's BEYOND THE SEA, was in absolutely fantastic voice singing on TONY BENNETT CELEBRATES 90.  I wonder if Spacey will sing as the Tony Awards host for the June11th telecast airing on CBS.

After the Tonys are handed out in New York City, Queens will see Kevin Spacey in solo action.  According to the website, Spacey will play Clarence Darrow, the legendary lawyer, in a one-man show at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing, Queens.  This show will be a 2-night event, June 15th and 16th.  The 90-minute play about the famed American Civil Liberties attorney premiered on Broadway in 1974.  Henry Fonda played Darrow.  Ticket for Spacey's production go on sale April 30th.
Spacey has a hot hit on Netflix with HOUSE OF CARDS.  In it, he's a ruthless and charismatic Washington, DC politician named Frank Underwood.
When I met Mr. Spacey last year, he had played a real-life politician -- President Richard Nixon.  Oscar nominee Michael Shannon starred opposite him at Elvis Presley.  When Nixon was in the White House, these two men -- at opposite ends of the national popularity scale -- met and the meeting produced a very famous and very unlikely photo.

You wouldn't think that a movie based on the President Nixon and Elvis Presley White House meeting would work.  Michael Shannon played Elvis.  Shannon didn't sing nor does he really resemble Elvis, but he got the emotional truth of the man and gave a solid performance.  So did Spacey as Nixon.  There's humor, heartache and depth in this loopy film.  It doesn't come off like an extended comedy sketch.  Director Liza Johnson did a fine, bright job.  Here's a trailer.

TCM (Turner Classic Movies) has been airing a short video salute to Jack Lemmon narrated by Kevin Spacey.   It's a lovely piece. In it, he tells how Jack came to be his mentor and, later, his fellow cast member in the movie version of GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS.
Because of that TCM short, I'm re-posting my interview of the two biopic stars.  Michael Shannon, Kevin Spacey and  I talked about  ELVIS & NIXON.  Kevin also told me how one particular Jack Lemmon performance helped him create his character for AMERICAN BEAUTY.

Look for ELVIS & NIXON on Amazon Prime.  For information on tickets to see Kevin Spacey in CLARENCE DARROW, check out this website:

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