News that Kevin Spacey has been cast in his first movie since several allegations of sexual misconduct were made against him starting in 2017 has ignited fury across social media and the film industry. Spacey is set to appear as a sex abuse investigator in a new film by Italian actor and director Franco Nero titled “L’uomo Che Disegno Dio.” Nero is also starring in the movie, as is his wife Vanessa Redgrave. In a statement to CNN, the film’s producer, Louis Nero, defended Spacey’s casting by saying he believes the accusations are “false,” adding, “I cast him because he is a great actor.”
Franco Nero shared similar sentiments when Spacey’s casting was first announced over the weekend, saying in a statement, “I’m very happy Kevin agreed to participate in my film. I consider him a great actor and I can’t wait to start the movie.” Spacey’s role is expected to be a small one, as Nero is playing the lead character.
Mark Ebenhoch, an actor who accused Spacey of sexual misconduct on the set of the 1995 movie “Outbreak,” condemned the casting in an interview with TMZ (via The Independent). Ebenhoch called the casting “arrogant”, “irresponsible,” and “absurd” given Spacey is being hired to play a sex abuse investigator after his personal history of alleged sexual abuse and misconduct. Ebenhoch said his first thought when hearing about the casting was, “What the hell?”
Spacey’s casting has also received a word of encouragement from Paul Schrader, who took to Facebook to react to the news by writing, “About time. If he’s guilty of a crime, incarcerate him. If not, let him act. Many great artists have been bad people.” Schrader made headlines in November 2018 by offering to cast Spacey in a new movie.
“I believe there are crimes in life but no crimes in art,” Schrader wrote at the time in a since-deleted post. “Spacey should be punished for any crimes his actual person created. But not for art. All art is a crime. Punishing him as an artist only diminishes art. Put Celine in jail, put Pound in jail, punish Wilde and Bruce if you must, but do not censor their art.”
Schrader ended up taking a Facebook hiatus after the post, later revealing that A24 “requested” he not post as he was in the middle of awards season with his Oscar contender “First Reformed.”
Spacey was last seen on film in 2018’s “Billionaire Boys Club,” and he also appeared in Edgar Wright’s 2017 action movie “Baby Driver.” He’s continued ever since to attempt a comeback through YouTube videos in which he channels the persona of Frank Underwood. In 2019, he emerged under puzzling circumstances to read a poem in Rome centered on a dejected fighter bemoaning his fate.