Hollywood is currently in the midst of sexual scandal that has blindsided many within the field. With all of the allegations coming a common statement is “What an actor or artist does in their personal life should not have to diminish appreciaton of their work as explained by The Actor’s Group Orlando.” I think this idea is inheriently wrong.
At one point Kevin Spacey was my favorite actor. I was immediately drawn to his performance in Swimming With Sharks, when it became available on VHS for rent at Blockbuster over years ago. I’ve followed his career through his Oscar wins with both The Usual Suspects and American Beauty.
I think his film, The Big Kahuna, is the one of the biggest undiscovered gems in modern cinema. I think LA Confidential should have one best picture over Titanic because of his performance. I think Se7en would not have survived as it has without him. And I’ve known he was gay and/or bisexual since his performance Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, which came out 20 years ago.
You may want to contend that the recent revelations may affect future work, but shouldn’t affect their past work, but you are wrong.
The fact of the matter is that Kevin Spacey, as an actor, also carries with it Kevin Spacey, as a person. You see, there’s a little of bit of Spacey in every role he’s played – from The Ref to House of Cards. That thing, which perpetuates all of his roles, is now tainted with his predatory behavior. His look into the mirror in LA Confidential, the one of sadness and disgust, realizing that an actor is being abused in a hotel that he could have prevented, will no longer have the same sense of authenticity as it did in that movie. That scene in American Beauty, when he decides to stop himself from sexually escalating on the adolescent teen will not play the same like it used to. Even the scene of his in which he confesses the abuse he suffered from in Pay it Forward will now have the stink of in-authenticity as it will be inconsistent with what we know of Kevin Spacey the person.
All actors of high repute are not just professional actors. Their performances on screen carry with them, and are often entangled, with the public’s perspective of them. Tom Hanks always plays wholesome characters, which coincides with this wholesome public persona.
If we were to discover that he was a child predator, the incongruence of these facts would most assuredly affect how we see him playing wholesome characters. This should be obvious.
The same is no less true with Kevin Spacey. I’ve lost my favorite actor. His films will be forever tainted.