Kevin Spacey Poster


Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (2)  | Trade Mark (5)  | Trivia (97)  | Personal Quotes (96)  | Salary (2)

Overview (3)

Born in South Orange, New Jersey, USA
Birth NameKevin Spacey Fowler
Height 5' 9½" (1.77 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Kevin Spacey Fowler, better known by his stage name Kevin Spacey, is an American actor of screen and stage, film director, producer, screenwriter and singer. He began his career as a stage actor during the 1980s before obtaining supporting roles in film and television. He gained critical acclaim in the early 1990s that culminated in his first Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for the neo-noir crime thriller The Usual Suspects (1995), and an Academy Award for Best Actor for midlife crisis-themed drama American Beauty (1999).

His other starring roles have included the comedy-drama film Swimming with Sharks (1994), psychological thriller Seven (1995), the neo-noir crime film L.A. Confidential (1997), the drama Pay It Forward (2000), the science fiction-mystery film K-PAX (2001)

In Broadway theatre, Spacey won a Tony Award for his role in Lost in Yonkers. He was the artistic director of the Old Vic theatre in London from 2004 until stepping down in mid-2015. Since 2013, Spacey has played Frank Underwood in the Netflix political drama series House of Cards. His work in House of Cards earned him Golden Globe Award and Emmy Award nominations for Best Actor.

As enigmatic as he is talented, Kevin Spacey for years kept the details of his private life closely guarded. As he explained in a 1998 interview with the London Evening Standard, "the less you know about me, the easier it is to convince you that I am that character on screen. It allows an audience to come into a movie theatre and believe I am that person". In October 2017, he ended many years of media speculation about his personal life by confirming that he had had sexual relations with both men and women but now identified as gay.

There are, however, certain biographical facts to be had - for starters, Kevin Spacey Fowler was the youngest of three children born to Kathleen Ann (Knutson) and Thomas Geoffrey Fowler, in South Orange, New Jersey. His ancestry includes Swedish (from his maternal grandfather) and English. His middle name, "Spacey," which he uses as his stage name, is from his paternal grandmother. His mother was a personal secretary, his father a technical writer whose irregular job prospects led the family all over the country. The family eventually settled in southern California, where young Kevin developed into quite a little hellion - after he set his sister's tree house on fire, he was shipped off to the Northridge Military Academy, only to be thrown out a few months later for pinging a classmate on the head with a tire. Spacey then found his way to Chatsworth High School in the San Fernando Valley, where he managed to channel his dramatic tendencies into a successful amateur acting career. In his senior year, he played "Captain von Trapp" opposite classmate Mare Winningham's "Maria" in "The Sound of Music" (the pair later graduated as co-valedictorians). Spacey claims that his interest in acting - and his nearly encyclopedic accumulation of film knowledge - began at an early age, when he would sneak downstairs to watch the late late show on TV. Later, in high school, he and his friends cut class to catch revival films at the NuArt Theater. The adolescent Spacey worked up celebrity impersonations (James Stewart and Johnny Carson were two of his favorites) to try out on the amateur comedy club circuit.

He briefly attended Los Angeles Valley College, then left (on the advice of another Chatsworth classmate, Val Kilmer) to join the drama program at Juilliard. After two years of training he was anxious to work, so he quit Juilliard sans diploma and signed up with the New York Shakespeare Festival. His first professional stage appearance was as a messenger in the 1981 production of "Henry VI".

Festival head Joseph Papp ushered the young actor out into the "real world" of theater, and the next year Spacey made his Broadway debut in Henrik Ibsen's "Ghosts". He quickly proved himself as an energetic and versatile performer (at one point, he rotated through all the parts in David Rabe's "Hurlyburly"). In 1986, he had the chance to work with his idol and future mentor, Jack Lemmon, on a production of Eugene O'Neill's "Long Day's Journey Into Night". While his interest soon turned to film, Spacey would remain active in the theater community - in 1991, he won a Tony Award for his turn as "Uncle Louie" in Neil Simon's Broadway hit "Lost in Yonkers" and, in 1999, he returned to the boards for a revival of O'Neill's "The Iceman Cometh".

Spacey's film career began modestly, with a small part as a subway thief in Heartburn (1986). Deemed more of a "character actor" than a "leading man", he stayed on the periphery in his next few films, but attracted attention for his turn as beady-eyed villain "Mel Profitt" on the TV series Wiseguy (1987). Profitt was the first in a long line of dark, manipulative characters that would eventually make Kevin Spacey a household name: he went on to play a sinister office manager in Glengarry Glen Ross (1992), a sadistic Hollywood exec in Swimming with Sharks (1994), and, most famously, creepy, smooth-talking eyewitness Verbal Kint in The Usual Suspects (1995).

The "Suspects" role earned Spacey an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor and catapulted him into the limelight. That same year, he turned in another complex, eerie performance in David Fincher's thriller Se7en (1995) (Spacey refused billing on the film, fearing that it might compromise the ending if audiences were waiting for him to appear). By now, the scripts were pouring in. After appearing in Al Pacino's Looking for Richard (1996), Spacey made his own directorial debut with Albino Alligator (1996), a low-key but well received hostage drama. He then jumped back into acting, winning critical accolades for his turns as flashy detective Jack Vincennes in L.A. Confidential (1997) and genteel, closeted murder suspect Jim Williams in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997). In October 1999, just four days after the dark suburban comedy American Beauty (1999) opened in US theaters, Spacey received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Little did organizers know that his role in Beauty would turn out to be his biggest success yet - as Lester Burnham, a middle-aged corporate cog on the brink of psychological meltdown, he tapped into a funny, savage character that captured audiences' imaginations and earned him a Best Actor Oscar.

No longer relegated to offbeat supporting parts, Spacey seems poised to redefine himself as a Hollywood headliner. He says he's finished exploring the dark side - but, given his attraction to complex characters, that mischievous twinkle will never be too far from his eyes.

In February 2003 Spacey made a major move back to the theatre. He was appointed Artistic Director of the new company set up to save the famous Old Vic theatre, The Old Vic Theatre Company. Although he did not undertake to stop appearing in movies altogether, he undertook to remain in this leading post for ten years, and to act in as well as to direct plays during that time. His first production, of which he was the director, was the September 2004 British premiere of the play Cloaca by Maria Goos (made into a film, Cloaca (2003)). Spacey made his UK Shakespearean debut in the title role in Richard II in 2005. In 2006 he got movie director Robert Altman to direct for the stage the little-known Arthur Miller play Resurrection Blues, but that was a dismal failure. However Spacey remained optimistic, and insisted that a few mistakes are part of the learning process. He starred thereafter with great success in Eugene O'Neill's A Moon for the Misbegotten along with Colm Meaney and Eve Best, and in 2007 that show transferred to Broadway. In February 2008 Spacey put on a revival of the David Mamet 1988 play Speed-the-Plow in which he took one of the three roles, the others being taken by Jeff Goldblum and Laura Michelle Kelly.

In 2013, Spacey took on the lead role in an original Netflix series, House of Cards (2013). Based upon a British show of the same name, House of Cards is an American political drama. The show's first season received a Primetime Emmy Award nomination to include Outstanding lead actor in a drama series. In 2017, he played a memorable role as a villain in the action thriller Baby Driver (2017).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: IMDb Editors

Family (2)

Children None (no children)
Parents Kathleen Ann Fowler (Knutson)
Thomas Geoffrey Fowler

Trade Mark (5)

Recognizable drawling voice
Often plays deceptively intelligent and ruthless men
Often plays cold-blooded and sadistic characters
Distinctive clipped manner of speaking
Deadpan delivery

Trivia (97)

Auditioned for The Gong Show (1976) and was rejected (1978).
Attended Chatsworth (CA) High School with Val Kilmer.
His mother was his date for the Academy Awards the night he won.
Was co-valedictorian of his high school class at Chatsworth (CA) High School (1977).
Was paid 225 pounds per week for appearing in "The Iceman Cometh" at the Almeida Theatre in London (1998).
In October 1997, he was ranked #56 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list.
Attended Chatsworth (CA) High School in Los Angeles with Mare Winningham. During their senior year, he played Von Trapp and she played Maria in a school production of "The Sound of Music". Upon hearing of their Oscar nominations in 1996, Winningham sent a telegram to Spacey saying: "Captain Von Trapp--congratulations on your nomination--Maria".
In May 1999, he was voted greatest actor of the decade by Empire magazine.
Burned his sister's treehouse down when they were children. This caused his parents to opt for military school, which he promptly left for Chatsworth High School.
Was the first choice to play the role of Lester Burnham in American Beauty (1999).
In February 2001, he appears twice in Total Film's (U.K) '10 Greatest Villains of All Time' poll. His "John Doe", from Se7en (1995), reached #10, while his character in The Usual Suspects (1995) was voted #5.
Listed as one of "Entertainment Weekly's 25 Best Actors. [1998]
In September 2000, he made People magazine's (USA) 'Best-Dressed' list.
Studied drama at Juilliard School for two years.
Was expelled from Northridge (CA) Military Academy for throwing a tire at a classmate.
Was the first Academy Award winner to be on The Daily Show (1996).
During his appearance on BBC TV's Parkinson (1971) in March 2002, he did impressions of Jack Lemmon, Bill Clinton, Judi Dench, Katharine Hepburn, Al Pacino, Ian McKellen, Peter O'Toole and James Stewart.
He met Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez in September 2007, but never spoke to the press about their encounter. During the trip, he donated money to the Venezuelan film studio Villa del Cine.
Is a supporter of the U.S. Democratic Party.
Dedicated the Academy Award that he won for Best Actor in American Beauty (1999) to Jack Lemmon. Spacey has said in interviews that he based his performance of Lester Burnham on Lemmon's C.C. Baxter in The Apartment (1960). Appropriately, there is also a family connection between those films: Lemmon's love interest was Shirley MacLaine, whose sister-in-law, Annette Bening played Spacey's wife.
His production company, TriggerStreet, is named after an actual street in the San Fernando Valley where he grew up and dreamed of building a theatre and making movies. The late cowboy star Roy Rogers once owned a ranch on the land and named the street for his horse Trigger.
On October 2, 2002, he attended the UK Labour Party Conference with former US President Bill Clinton.
Has an older brother, Randall, and an older sister, Julie Ann. Has a nephew and a niece.
His father, Thomas Fowler, was a technical writer.
When they were both performing on Broadway (1998), he would often meet Dame Judi Dench during intermission or between shows.
On April 17, 2004, he suffered a head injury in London after tripping over his dog while pursuing a young man who had stolen his cell phone. Initially, he reported that the injury was the result of a mugging, but later admitted the truth and stated that he was embarrassed by the situation.
His Oscar-winning performance as Verbal Kint from his film The Usual Suspects (1995) was ranked #48 on the American Film Institute's Villains list in their compilation of the 100 years of The Greatest Screen Heroes and Villains.
Has said that working with Jack Lemmon on a stage production of Long Day's Journey Into Night (1987) (the television edition of the stage production) changed his life. Previously possessive of a reckless ambition, he said he was amazed at how Lemmon was both a great actor and generous to a fault as both a co-star and a human being, teaching him that being a good person and a good actor were not mutually exclusive. He still considers Lemmon his role model.
Father Thomas Fowler passed away (1992). Mother Kathleen Fowler passed away of a brain tumor (2003).
His guest appearance in Crime Story: The Senator, the Movie Star, and the Mob (1987) was his first major television appearance.
His performance as Verbal Kint in The Usual Suspects (1995) is ranked #100 on Premiere magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.
Has parodied a mad bald man, Dr. Evil, in Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002) while portraying a sinister bald man, Lex Luthor, in Superman Returns (2006).
Has twice shaved his head completely bald to play the main villain in movies. He did this to play John Doe in Se7en (1995) and Lex Luthor in Superman Returns (2006).
The character Deadshot from "Justice League" had his voice and personality based on Spacey.
As part of his research for the role of Bobby Darin in Beyond the Sea (2004), he watched several of Michael Bublé's performances.
In April 2000, the Los Angeles Times reported that he was being considered for the role of Inspector Clouseau in The Pink Panther (2006). The following month, he denied he was in negotiations for the role. He said he had only had two conversations with MGM about the role, but that since the announcement claiming he was in the running for it, he would had to answer "8000" Pink Panther questions.
Has a black mongrel terrier called Mini. "She is named after the car.".
His older brother, Randy Fowler, makes a living as a Rod Stewart impersonator and limousine driver based in Boise, Idaho.
Is only one of seven actors who have a 2-0 winning record when nominated for an acting Oscar, his two wins for The Usual Suspects (1995) and American Beauty (1999). The others are Luise Rainer for The Great Ziegfeld (1936) and The Good Earth (1937); Vivien Leigh for Gone with the Wind (1939) and A Streetcar Named Desire (1951); Helen Hayes for The Sin of Madelon Claudet (1931) and Airport (1970); Hilary Swank for Boys Don't Cry (1999) and Million Dollar Baby (2004); Christoph Waltz for Inglourious Basterds (2009) and Django Unchained (2012); and Mahershala Ali for Moonlight (2016) and Green Book (2018).
Ranked #10 in the 2008 Telegraph's list "the 100 most powerful people in British culture".
To pay his way through Juilliard School, he worked in the school's admin office.
Co-hosted the Nobel Peace Prize concert for Al Gore because Tommy Lee Jones had to drop out at the last minute.
In 1970, he attended Northridge Military Academy in Northridge, California, with producer and director Thomas R. Bond II.
Thanked by the rock band Matchbox Twenty in the liner notes of their album "Yourself or Someone Like You" (1996).
Currently resides in Los Angeles, California and New York City.
Divides his time between London, England and Los Angeles, California.
Was the first Hollywood star to be cast as a lead actor in a fully Chinese-financed film: Dayyan Eng's Inseparable (2011).
In Total Film's Top 100 Greatest Movie Villains, he ranked 65 for his role as Buddy Ackerman in Swimming with Sharks (1994). His Keiser Soze in The Usual Suspects (1995) was ranked 52 and his John Doe in Se7en (1995) was ranked 13.
In a Butterfields L.A. auction on September 10, 2001, the Oscar won by George Stoll for Anchors Aweigh (1945) was being auctioned for $157,000. He bought it and returned it to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Voted Man of the Year in Theater by GQ magazine (1999).
A guest at Simon Cowell's 50th birthday party.
His middle name, "Spacey," also his stage name, comes from his paternal grandmother, Norma Louise (Spacey). The name appears to originate in England. His maternal grandfather, Allan August Knutson, was the son of Swedish parents.
After he dropped out of Julliard, he worked as a shoe salesman and a superintendent in his apartment building.
Credits Mel Profitt on Wiseguy (1987) as being his "breakthrough role".
Was in Rolling Stone magazine's "Hot" issue as "Hot Character" twice (1988 and 1995).
In January 2016 it was announced that Relativity Media, which was just emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy, had acquired Trigger Street Productions and that Spacey would become chairman of Relativity Studios while Dana Brunetti would become the studio's president. Spacey called the move "an incredible opportunity to make great entertainment" and said he considered it the "next evolution in my career". However, when the paperwork for the studio was filed for the court, it emerged that Spacey had opted out of assuming the chairmanship of the studios, and by the end of 2016 Brunetti had also left Relativity whilst both remained Executive Producers on House of Cards (2013) and Manifesto (2015).
He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6801 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on October 5, 1999.
As of 2014, has appeared in three films that were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar: Working Girl (1988), L.A. Confidential (1997) and American Beauty (1999), with the latter winning in the category.
Was the first choice to play President Whitmore in Independence Day (1996), but an executive at 20th Century Fox refused to let producer Dean Devlin cast him in the role, feeling he didn't have the potential to be a big-time movie star. Ten months later, Spacey won his first Academy Award. Independence Day was about aliens attacking Earth. He would later play an alien visiting the Earth in K-PAX (2001).
He was considered for the role of Raoul Silva in Skyfall (2012), which went to Javier Bardem.
He was awarded the honorary CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2010 Queen's Birthday Honours List for his services to drama. He was awarded honorary Knight Bachelor of the Order of the British Empire in the 2015 Queen's Birthday Honours List for his services to drama and theatre especially as artistic director of the Old Vic Theatre in London, England.
Shares the role of Lex Luthor with Gene Hackman, Michael Rosenbaum and Jesse Eisenberg. He and Rosenbaum appeared together in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997) for director Clint Eastwood, who also directed Hackman in Unforgiven (1992) and Absolute Power (1997). Spacey and Hackman have also both won an Oscar for Best Actor and Supporting Actor. After winning Best Supporting Actor, they each appeared in a John Grisham adaptation: The Firm (1993) and A Time to Kill (1996). Spacey also produced The Social Network (2010), which Eisenberg appeared in.
He was nominated for the 2016 New Jersey Hall of Fame in the Performance Arts category.
Does spot-on impersonations of Jack Lemmon, Katharine Hepburn, Clint Eastwood and Christopher Walken, among others.
In October 2017, he publicly revealed that he is homosexual after many years of media speculation about his personal life.
When Spacey played James Tyrone Jr. on Broadway in Eugene O'Neill's "Moon For the Misbegotten" (2007) (the same role he played in O'Neill's "Long Day's Journey Into Night" (1986)), every time he smoked a cigarette onstage he kept switching it from one hand to the other, an homage to the dual roles he played in the film The Usual Suspects (1995), one of whom is right-handed and the other left-handed.
In high school, he played Captain Von Trapp in "The Sound of Music", which was famously portrayed by Christopher Plummer in the 1965 classic. Christopher Plummer would later replace Kevin Spacey as J. Paul Getty in All the Money in the World (2017), after Kevin Spacey was accused by several people of sexual harassment over many years.
Has appeared with Alec Baldwin in four films: Working Girl (1988), Glengarry Glen Ross (1992), Looking for Richard (1996) and The Boss Baby (2017).
In September 2018, a lawsuit filed at Los Angeles Superior Court claimed that Spacey sexually assaulted an unnamed masseur at a house in Malibu, California, in October 2016.
He was considered to star as Andy Kaufman in Man on the Moon (1999).
In 2018, Earl Blue, owner of the security company VIP Protective Services, accused Spacey of using racial slurs against his predominately African-American staff when they were hired on the House of Cards (2013) set in 2012 and getting him fired.
He was considered for the role of Michael Bartel in The Hand that Rocks the Cradle (1992).
He turned down the role of Paul Smecker in The Boondock Saints (1999).
Fifteen individuals accused him of sexual abuse, including journalist Heather Unruh (who alleged that Spacey sexually assaulted her son); Norwegian author and former royal family member Ari Behn; filmmaker Tony Montana; actor Roberto Cavazos; Richard Dreyfuss' son Harry; and eight people who worked on House of Cards (2013). The Guardian was contacted by "a number of people" who worked at the Old Vic, where Spacey was artistic director for 11 years; they alleged that he "groped and behaved in an inappropriate way with young men at the time".
He was considered for Eddie Dane in Miller's Crossing (1990).
In 1999, reports suggested Spacey was dating a script supervisor named Dianne Dreyer, with their relationship possibly dating back as far as 1992. In 2000, Spacey brought Dreyer to the Academy Awards; during the acceptance speech for his Best Actor award, Spacey stated, "Dianne, thank you for teaching me about caring about the right things, and I love you.".
On November 16 2017, the Old Vic confirmed that it had received 20 testimonies of alleged inappropriate behavior by Spacey, with three persons stating that they had contacted the police.
He was considered to play the Master in Doctor Who: The Movie (1996).
On October 29, 2017, Anthony Rapp alleged that Spacey, while appearing intoxicated, made a sexual advance toward him in 1986, when Rapp was 14 and Spacey was 26. Rapp had also shared this story in a 2001 interview with The Advocate, but Spacey's name was redacted from publication to avoid legal disputes and public outing. Spacey stated through Twitter that he did not remember the encounter, but that he owed Rapp "the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior" if he had behaved as asserted.
He was considered for Billy Flynn in Chicago (2002).
His first professional stage appearance was as a spear carrier in a New York Shakespeare Festival performance of Henry VI, Part 1 in 1981.
In March 2011 - following Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko's crackdown on the Belarusian democracy movement - Spacey joined Jude Law on the street in a protest against Lukashenko's regime.
He was well known in Hollywood for his impressions. When he appeared on Inside the Actors Studio (1994), he imitated James Stewart, Johnny Carson, Katharine Hepburn, Clint Eastwood, John Gielgud, Marlon Brando, Christopher Walken, Al Pacino and Jack Lemmon. As a young actor in New York City, he used his skill to pretend to be Carson's son to obtain free theater tickets and enter Studio 54.
He was considered for the lead role in Batman (1989).
He is a friend of President Bill Clinton. Having met Clinton before his presidency began, Spacey once described him as "one of a shining light" in the political process. He additionally made a cameo appearance in the short film The Final Days (2000), a light-hearted political satire produced by the Clinton administration for the White House Correspondents Dinner.
In October 2008, he started the Kevin Spacey Foundation in the United Kingdom to encourage youth involvement in the arts. Headquartered in England and Wales, its purpose was to provide grants to individuals and organizations to help young people study the arts, particularly theatre. The charity shut down in February 2018 following sexual misconduct allegations against Spacey.
He was considered to star as Chuck Barris in Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002).
He was considered for John Milton in The Devil's Advocate (1997).
He was considered for Hades in Hercules (1997).
He was considered for the lead role in The Life and Death of Peter Sellers (2004).
He was originally cast as Walter McCormick in Curly Sue (1991), but had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts.
He was the first choice to play Col. William Tavington in The Patriot (2000). After paying Mel Gibson $25 million, there was not enough in the budget to pay him.
He turned down Gary Oldman's role in Paranoia (2013).
He was considered for the lead role in The Phantom of the Opera (2004).
He was considered for the lead role in Constantine (2005).
He has appeared in one film that has been selected for the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant: L.A. Confidential (1997).

Personal Quotes (96)

[on winning the Best Actor Oscar for his performance in American Beauty (1999))] This has definitely been the highlight of my day.
[on American Beauty (1999)] I read the screenplay and nearly fell out of bed. I thought I better meet him quick before someone else read it.
[on assumptions by women that he is gay (NOTE: In 2017 he admitted that he was gay after years of unconfirmed speculation)] For them it's a challenge. They want to be the one to turn me around. I let them.
My idea of credibility is primarily self-imposed and it all relates to the thing that I've been interested in as an actor and a director, which is what are you WILLING to live with as a human being? And there's things I'm just not willing to live with--and I won't. And if it means that I stop and find something else in life that interests me or challenges me, so be it.
The less you know about me, the easier it is to convince you that I am that character on screen. It allows an audience to come into a movie theatre and believe I am that person.
Success is like death. The more successful you become, the higher the houses in the hills get and the higher the fences get.
Beyond the Sea (2004) is not a linear story at all. It's not what people will expect and it's not a biopic. It's my statement.
[2/22/05 interview in "Women's World"] If you're lucky enough to do well, it's your responsibility to send the elevator back down.
I was beginning to feel I just didn't want to go through another ten years of living in hotels, making three or four movies a year. I long for the ritual of theater. I adore it. And I want to do plays that challenge me.
The movies are not my first priority--the theater is.
If you look at how most artistic beginnings have been greeted in this country [UK], I'm in very good company. I know I'm a bigger target as long as I'm seen as a Hollywood movie star instead of as an actor of the theater, even an artistic director. They don't accept that I come in to work here every day, and have done for the last 2-1/2 years, and will continue to do so.
There is no prize out there. The only prize is this one, and what you feel and what you want to accomplish. And if you can, as you start out, these what could be lean years or could be fat years. I feel that I very often watch a lot of young people sort of meander around without any idea about why they're doing what they're doing. I mean to want and to be ambitious and to want to be successful is not enough. That's just desire. To know what you want, to understand why you're doing it, to dedicate every breath in your body to achieve . . . If you feel you have something to give, if you feel that your particular talent is worth developing, is worth caring for then there's nothing you can't achieve.
As far as I'm concerned, when I looked at what happened in my career in 2000--after American Beauty (1999)--I thought it couldn't get much better. What was I going to spend the rest of my life doing? Trying to top myself? Trying to stay hot, trying to make sure I was in the right movies? I don't give a shit. I'm trying to do something with my success which is bigger than myself. I'm no longer interested in my personal career. I am interested in the impact I can have on a lot of other people's careers and on audiences.
John Normington was a remarkable talent and all of us at the Old Vic are deeply saddened by his passing. We were fortunate to have John in the company of "The Entertainer", where so many audiences had the chance to see his extraordinary performance as Archie Rice's father. John brought a wide range of experience to his characters throughout a diverse and successful career that touched the lives of all who worked with him. We were honored to have enjoyed John's company for as long as we had him. His spirit and influence remained throughout and now that same spirit joins the other great actors who have played the Old Vic stage, where he will always be remembered with admiration and affection. They don't make them like him anymore. We send our love and condolences to John's partner, family and friends.
[as Artistic Director of London's Old Vic Theatre] I'm living my dream. I'm doing it the way I want to do it. I'm working with an extraordinary group of people at that theatre who are dedicated and who really have in so many ways helped us discover what our ethos is.
I was doing a play called "The Iceman Cometh" at the Old Vic, and in the middle of the quietest moment of the second act, a phone started ringing. I felt the anger starting in my toes and it came right out of my mouth, as loud as anything else I'd said on the stage, I looked out to the audience and said, "Tell them we're busy!" And it got a round of applause.
I love living in London. I can say with all sincerity that London is my home. This is my seventh year in London, fifth season at the Old Vic. I will never renounce being American but there is a part of me that is British now. I may go for dual citizenship, who knows?
[on traveling to Africa with Bill Clinton in 2002] He invited me. It was an opportunity to go to Africa, which I'd always been fascinated by. He's the first president to go there while he was in office. He went to raise money and awareness for a number of issues: AIDS, debt, economic relief. We went to seven different countries in ten days--Ghana, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, and then to the town of Johannesburg for an event with [Nelson Mandela]. It was just a remarkable experience.
[on undertaking dark roles] They're great parts! These are the parts audiences love to hate! First of all, you don't play a villain. You play a person who is doing things they think are quite justified. It's not one thing that makes a person do something. It's a lifetime of experience and motivations and relationships and terrors. We too often, conveniently and cutely, try to label everything so that we understand it, and there are things we'll never fucking understand. ever. All we can do is just watch them.
[on Se7en (1995)] I liked it because it was such a dangerous script and showed just what human beings are capable of. Here was a movie in which Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt, who always win in every movie they ever do, simply don't win. I felt that was outrageous for a commercial movie . . . It's a great thriller or mystery, but on another level it's a film about the fact that, if you only look at a person through one lens, or only believe what you're told, you can often miss the truth that is staring you in the face. It's so easy for us to misperceive and see the things in others that we want to see. And when we're wrong, and often we're dead wrong, we miss the truth.
[on Albino Alligator (1996)] Directing a film was something I was yearning to do. I always wanted to see if I had the capacity to be a good storyteller.
Sometimes the person who is the most logical is the person whom we call insane.
I'm lucky if I find one movie a year that's worth doing, and when I do find one, it usually only takes 20-30 days to shoot.
I'm aware that, from the outside, this looks like I've got quite an ego.
[on House of Cards (2013) and Netflix] This is a really new perspective . . . to drop them [release the episodes] all at once but I think that's how we watch TV now. Because this is the first time they [Netflix] are doing drama, they don't even have the offices to do this compared with the other networks. I feel sorry for the makers of the third series they do--when they have the offices and [can interfere].
[on the current state of film versus TV] I was lucky to get into film at a time (the 1990s) that was very interesting for drama. But if you look now, the focus is not on the same kind of films that were made in the '90s. When I look now, the most interesting plots, the most interesting characters, they are on TV.
[on Netflix airing all 13 episodes of House of Cards (2013) at once] I think in some ways maybe this proves, with the way in which an audience has been able to find the series, that we have learned the lesson the music industry didn't learn. Give people what they want it, in the form they want it in, at a reasonable price, and they will buy it and they won't steal it.
The camera doesn't know if it's a TV camera, or a streaming camera, or. a movie camera--it is just a camera. It doesn't change our process in terms of how we work. What did change our process was that we weren't obligated or asked by Netflix to do a pilot. We were just able to get on with the story-telling from the get-go.
I'm used to people thinking I'm nuts. And you know what? I kind of love it.
[on why he hasn't made a movie since Horrible Bosses (2011)] Unless it's Martin Scorsese, and it's a really significant role, fuck off. I'm not playing someone's brother. I'm not playing the station manager. I'm not playing the FCC chairman.
[in 2014] The theater has always been dying. They've been saying that for centuries. And you know what, it just keeps limping along and doing alright. By the way, the single biggest money-making franchise in the United States is Broadway . . . I think, and this is my honest opinion, as long as people want to tell stories, and as long as people want to hear those stories, the theater will be alive and well for all time.
[in 2014, on the difference between working in film and on stage] Theater is my primary allegiance. And I've not only had such an extraordinary life in the theater, but I've also been given the incredible opportunity to have a life in film . . . But I always try to remember this: no matter how good an actor might be in [a] movie, they'll never be any better in that movie. That's it. But in theater, we can be better next Tuesday than we were this Tuesday, we can be better infinitely. It is why we call the film "Now". It's not just the first word of the first sentence of the play, it is what theater is, it's NOW, it's at this moment, it's here and it's gone. And to people who think it's the same thing every night, I always make the analogy that it's like tennis. You can go out and play tennis eight times a week. And it's always the same rules, but it's always a different game, every single time. That's what it's like, when we go on stage every night.
[in 2014] I look at the last ten years, where I've done a play every year . . . and I'd like to think that this decade has made me a better actor. All that work has prepared me to do the best work that I can do, and I'm pretty convinced that if I hadn't gone and done this, I wouldn't have been prepared for a thing like House of Cards (2013).
[on Horrible Bosses 2 (2014)] I think it is a little bit crazier. I'm very glad that almost everybody is back for it and I so love working with Jason Sudeikis and Jason Bateman and Charlie Day because being opposite them in a scene when they're riffing and they're [improvising] and they're trying different ways to do scenes, it is the hardest thing in the world not to absolutely lose your cookies. We spend most of our time laughing and any time somebody wants to pay me to come and laugh all day long, I'm there.
I am one of these actors where I believe very strongly that if you want to get a part, you have to do anything within reason to get that part. I admire Woody Allen so much. I was at a point where every time he announces a new movie, I never get an audition and nobody ever calls me to come in. I was like, "You know what? I am going to just write Woody Allen." So I introduced myself and sent him a Netflix subscription and said, "I don't know if you've seen my work, but you might want to watch this series." He wrote me back a warm and wonderful letter, and thanked me for the Netflix. He said he'd seen me play lots of different roles and said he absolutely would consider me in a film.
I was in a piano bar. Some guy was absolutely convinced that I was that musician . . . what's his name? The guy in Genesis? Phil Collins! To the point that I even put on a British accent and signed a napkin as him.
My interest is not to repeat myself. There's a danger in this business. You get known for something. Then people who make movies want you to do it again and again in their movie, except their movie isn't a good one. So I resist doing the same character. American Beauty (1999) and The Negotiator (1998) were different from each other and completely different from any film or genre I've done. They were good actor's pieces. For "Negotiator", I also thought it would be really fun to see what [Samuel L. Jackson] and I could do with the story.
I don't care about my personal acting career anymore. I'm done with it. After 10 years of making movies and doing better than I ever could have imagined, I sort of had to ask myself: 'What am I supposed to do with all of this success that I have had?'
I have always believed that the risk takers are eventually rewarded.
Am I arrogant? I've been arrogant, sure; everybody's been arrogant.
People have different reasons for the way they live their lives. You cannot put everyone's reasons in the same box.
The process of doing a play is an organic one, and the process of doing a film is totally inorganic.
Success is like death. The more successful you become, the higher the houses in the hills get and the higher the fences get.
Directing a film was something I was yearning to do. I always wanted to see if I had the capacity to be a good storyteller.
I'm not someone who's led my life trying to get publicity; I'd rather do my work and go home.
We're all victims of our own hubris at times.
If you haven't turned rebel by twenty you've got no heart; if you haven't turned establishment by thirty you've got no brains!
Over the years, I've been trying to build a relationship with an audience. I've tried to maintain as much of a low profile as I could so that those characters would emerge and their relationship with audiences would be protected.
If someone can watch an entire season of a TV series in one day, doesn't that show an incredible attention span?
Maybe there are people who are gamers who haven't seen movies I have made, or the movies I have made have made no impression on them at all.
For kids growing up now, there's no difference watching Avatar (2009) on an iPad or watching YouTube on TV or watching Game of Thrones (2011) on their computer. It's all content. It's just story.
Give people what they want, when they want it, in the form they want it in, at a reasonable price, and they'll more likely pay for it rather than steal it. Well, some will still steal it, but I think we can take a bite out of piracy.
I find it sad that by not talking about who I sleep with, that makes me mysterious. There was a time when I would have been called a gentleman.
I'm not out there trying to get press for myself nor am I trying to convince anybody that I'm living any kind of a life. I'm actually trying to convince people: I don't want you to know what I'm living, because it's none of your business.
If you're lucky enough to do well, it's your responsibility to send the elevator back down.
I don't watch rugby.
Clearly the success of the Netflix model, releasing the entire season of House of Cards (2013) at once, proved one thing: The audience wants the control. They want the freedom. If they want to binge as they've been doing on House of Cards and lots of other shows, we should let them binge.
In film, movies' schedules are based on three things: actors' availabilities, when are sets being built, when you can rent the place you're going to film in.
I went through a period of great rebellion within my family, when I was about 9 or 10. I was mad, I had no focus, had no real interest in anything, and so I started to do things that were just rebellious and stupid.
I would love to do much more singing; it's just one of those things where I can't quite describe what it feels like when you're standing in front of a forty piece orchestra, and there's nothing between you and an audience but a microphone. It's like strapping yourself to a locomotive, and I love it.
I was on a couple of scholarships. I had a job in the school administrative office. I had a job as a hat-check boy in a restaurant. I had another job as an assistant to a casting director. It took a lot to get myself enough money to put myself through Juilliard.
Living in London has become incredible. I suppose it's easy to love where you live if you love what you're doing. But this is not just a visit: it's my home.
It takes stamina to get up like an athlete every single night, seven to eight performances a week, 20 weeks in a row. And there are many young performers who only learn their craft in the two minute bits it takes to film a scene. You never learn the arc of storytelling, the arc of a character that way.
I've been trying to take this journey over the last four years of getting away from playing manipulative and villainous characters and playing characters that are affected by what happens to them as opposed to unaffected.
I've been on sets where things weren't relaxed because someone was creating tension for no reason.
There are good people in the lobbying industry. Lobbyists can serve a very useful purpose.
I believe this: If an actor wants a role or wants to work with somebody, then you do everything within reason to try to get that role. If they want you to audition, you audition. If they want you to screen-test, you screen-test. If they want you to come and tap-dance in their hallway, you tap-dance in their hallway.
I mean we all played as kids. You play games, you take on different characters, you imitate; the fun and the love of play has never left me.
When you're just able to distill it down to the idea and the feeling that a character is experiencing in a scene, it can become very, very razor sharp and really clean and really efficient and simple. And sometimes it takes twenty-five years to learn how to be simple.
As the years have gone on, I find one of the dangers of watching dailies... is you fall in love with moments.
I've always found it strange that a director can hire any designer he wants from any country. But if he hires a foreign actor, it's like he's stolen the crown jewels and run across the river with them.
Am I now supposed to go on Oprah and cry and tell you my deepest, darkest secrets because you want to know?
I was not a studious kid, and I struggled to find things that would command my attention and engage my ideas and energies.
As long as we, in the United States, continue to insist that our politicians have to spend all of their time raising millions of dollars for television ads, it will be corrupt. If we leave it up to the politicians to clean up lobbying and finance reform, nothing is going to change.
One can never take the cynicism one comes across in life too seriously.
I open myself up every time I walk on screen and give you everything that I am. There are parts of me that are in every movie that I've done. That to me is what my job is.
If you look back through history in the United States, there have been very few landslide elections. Half the country always voted for someone else.
Life's all about perceptions.
No matter how good you might be in a movie, you'll never be any better. But in a play, I can be better next Tuesday. That's the thrill of it.
If you're watching a film on your television, is it no longer a film because you're not watching it in a theatre? If you watch a TV show on your iPad, is it no longer a TV show? The device and the length are irrelevant; the labels are useless, except perhaps to agents and managers and lawyers, who use these labels to conduct business deals.
My life will change, because I want it to change; and also because this is something I'm committed to doing and that I believe my life has been leading towards.
Sometimes it's the crazy people who turn out to be not so crazy.
At the end of the day, people have to respect people's differences. I am different than some people would like me to be.
When you study, as I did, every theatrical beginning in this country, none of them have been greeted well. The Royal Shakespeare Company was a disaster, Peter Hall was a disaster, Richard Eyre was a disaster, Trevor Nunn was always a disaster.
The stigma that used to exist many years ago, that actors from film don't do television, seems to have disappeared. That camera doesn't know it's a TV camera... or even a streaming camera. It's just a camera.
One of the tasks that any artistic director has is, you're trying to bring elements together that will work. The truth is that you could bring all the best talents in the world together and produce a big turkey.
Where the gaming world is going - and certainly Activision proved it by hiring me - is being willing to push and bend and move in a new direction of actually capturing the character and storytelling.
Some politicians that I've seen have been brilliant with the public. They almost speak with the skill of an actor.
I'm supposed to convince you, for two hours, that I'm somebody else. Now if you know everything about my life, if you think you've got me figured out and you think you know all my dark secrets, how am I ever going to convince you that I'm somebody else?
I've been intrigued by politics my whole life. And, yes, I am very close to the Clintons. I was a Hillary person until I was an Obama person. And she was a Hillary person, too, until she was an Obama one, evidently.
You have to always be ready, always be alive, and always be willing to move in a new direction.
What's my favourite book? It changes all the time.
I cotton to the idea that people are much closer to being flawed; they have problems and don't always make the right choices.
I couldn't imagine something asking as much of me as House of Cards (2013). It's a great warm-up for coming back to the screen.
What hasn't surprised me is that audiences, as we found starting with box sets, want control, to decide how they watch it. Appointment viewing is slowly being put slightly behind.
It's always the big question in our lives if you have a lot of success. What do you do with it? Buy more houses, buy more cars, buy more stuff, be wealthy and distant and unengaged? Or do you take all that good fortune that has come towards you and spread the love, do something with it?

Salary (2)

The Negotiator (1998) $4,500,000
Baby Driver (2017) $2,000,000

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