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Mena Suvari Recalls ‘Weird and Unusual’ Encounter with Kevin Spacey During ‘American Beauty’

Suvari said that back when sexual abuse claims surfaced against the actor, "I thought of that day."

AMERICAN BEAUTY, Kevin Spacey, Mena Suvari, 1999 (image upgraded to 13.8 x 9 in)

“American Beauty”

©DreamWorks/courtesy Everett / Everett Collection

Mena Suvari is opening up about her experience making the 1999 Best Picture-winning film “American Beauty.” The actress spoke to People about how she remembers an “unusual experience” with Kevin Spacey in the lead-up to shooting an intimate scene on the film, in which Suvari stars as a high school cheerleader being lusted after by Spacey’s character. (Spacey won a Best Actor Academy Award for his performance.)

Suvari said she “trusted” Spacey on the set of the movie, but that one experience did leave her with a strange feeling. “To prepare for a scene one day, he brought her into a side room where they ‘lay on the bed very close to one another,'” as Suvari explains to People. “He was sort of gently holding me. It was very peaceful but weird and unusual.”

Suvari also said that when sexual abuse claims began to surface against the actor in 2017, “I thought of that day.”

In her new book, “The Great Peace: A Memoir,” Suvari talks about being a survivor of sexual abuse herself and that she was “living a double life” during the making of “American Beauty.” “Every time I would go on a set. Every time I was interviewed, I was acting the whole time. It was another role for me to play. That I was okay,” she told People.

Kevin Spacey was recently cast in his first film since sexual misconduct allegations emerged, beginning with Anthony Rapp accusing Spacey of making a sexual advance toward him in 1986 when he was 14. In the film, titled “The Man Who Drew God,” Spacey reportedly plays a man accused of sexually abusing a child. The film is directed by Franco Nero.

More than a dozen additional alleged victims came forward, including filmmaker Tony Montana, and Richard Dreyfuss’ son Harry. Spacey was accused of behaving inappropriately toward young men during his time as artistic director of the Old Vic. The allegations cost Spacey his role as President Frank Underwood in Netflix’s “House of Cards.” A number of people who worked on the series were among Spacey’s accusers. 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.”

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