LONDON – Double Academy Award-winner Kevin Spacey, whose stellar acting career was derailed by sex assault allegations, goes on trial in London this week, accused of sexual offenses against four men in Britain.
WHAT IS HE ACCUSED OF?
Spacey, 63, faces a dozen charges, including of sexual assault, indecent assault and causing a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity without consent.
The actor, charged under his full name of Kevin Spacey Fowler, has pleaded not guilty to all 12 counts, which relate to alleged incidents between 2001 and 2013.
At an earlier hearing, Spacey’s lawyer said the actor “strenuously denies” the charges. The attorney said Spacey would face the U.K. court to establish his innocence and “proceed with his life.”
His trial before a jury at Southwark Crown Court opens Wednesday and is scheduled to last for four weeks.
WHY IS THE TRIAL IN BRITAIN?
Spacey spent more than a decade living in Britain, where he was artistic director of the Old Vic Theatre from 2004 to 2015. He was a high-profile figure in London, starring in productions including William Shakespeare’s “Richard III” and David Mamet’s “Speed-the-Plow,” and hosting star-studded fundraising events for the 200-year-old venue.
Spacey was questioned by British police in 2019 about claims by several men that he had assaulted them. He was charged in May 2022 with five counts against three alleged victims. Another seven charges, all against a fourth man, were added in November.
Spacey, who has addresses in Britain and the U.S., has been free on unconditional bail as he awaited trial.
WHAT’S SPACEY’S FUTURE?
From the 1990s, Spacey became one of the most celebrated actors of his generation, starring in films including “Glengarry Glen Ross” and “LA Confidential.” He won a best supporting actor Academy Award for the 1995 film “The Usual Suspects” and a lead actor Oscar for the 1999 movie “American Beauty.”
After allegations emerged in the U.S. amid the growing #MeToo movement, Spacey was fired or removed from projects — most notably “House of Cards,” the Netflix political thriller where for five seasons he played lead character Frank Underwood, a power-hungry congressman who becomes president. He was cut from the completed film “All the Money in the World,” and the scenes reshot with Christopher Plummer.
Spacey is adamant that his career is not over. He had his first film role for several years in Italian director Franco Nero’s “The Man Who Drew God,” played the late Croatian President Franjo Tudjman in biopic “Once Upon a Time in Croatia” and also starred in as-yet unreleased U.S. film “Peter Five Eight.”
In January he was feted with a lifetime achievement award from Italy’s National Cinema Museum in Turin. He also taught a masterclass and introduced a sold-out screening of “American Beauty” in what were billed as Spacey’s first speaking engagements in five years.
Spacey saluted organizers for “making a strong defense of artistic achievement” and for having “le palle” — the Italian word for male body parts synonymous with courage – to invite him.
He told Germany’s Zeit magazine in a rare recent interview that the media had turned him into a “monster.” But he said “there are people right now who are ready to hire me the moment I am cleared of these charges in London.”