GQ has named Kevin Spacey the “Power Broker of the Year” in its December “Men of the Year” issue, mainly because of his role in the landmark Netflix original series “House of Cards.” The D.C. drama was perhaps more successful than many realize. According to Spacey, the program is the most-streamed show in all 40 countries where Netflix exists. It has set “in some ways a new paradigm,” he said, an idea he’s become a spokesperson for, having delivered a much talked-about keynote address on the topic at the Edinburgh Television Festival.
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On making Woody Allen a Netflix user: “I wrote him a letter,” Spacey explained, “and introduced myself as an actor he may or may not know. And I sent him a Netflix subscription, because I want him to watch my work.” Happily, it was met with a positive response, “an absolutely wonderful letter” in which Allen has let him know that he is “in contention for things in the future,” and also took the time to thank Spacey for the Netflix subscription. Spacey said he “may write to Martin Scorsese next.”
On building his film career: “Eleven or so years before ‘American Beauty’ came out, I put on some very serious blinders and I got on the horse and I galloped toward seeing whether I could build a film career for myself. And you know, when you do something like that, have a certain kind of ambition that is very singular and very much about yourself, it is an incredibly selfish twelve years. Now, I’m not saying that everything I did was selfish or that I was only playing roles that drove that, but I was on a kind of mission to see if I could achieve something. To achieve a career at a certain level and in the way in which I wanted to have a career, playing with the kind of people I wanted to play with. I wanted to play in a certain league.”
On working with David Fincher: “I suppose one of the reasons I love working with Fincher so much is because it’s like working with somebody with an X-Acto blade. He just manages to get rid of all the shit and all the crap and all the fat and all the things you can bring to something. 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… He’s brutal. Thank God. You know, he’ll carve me up. He’s just a marvelous director of actors.”
On the success of “House of Cards” and the future of TV streaming: Spacey suggests that, unlike the public, he’s someone Netflix is willing to share their data with: “I’m probably about as up-to-date on that information as I could be.” He considers what it’s done “in some ways a new paradigm,” but doesn’t think things like binge-watching will affect the creative content of programs themselves: “That camera doesn’t know it’s a film camera or a TV camera or a streaming camera. It’s just a camera.”