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Spacey gives room for talk to theatre alone

New York, Feb. 14: Conventional wisdom says politicians are actors. But are actors politicians' Kevin Spacey certainly seemed to be running for something on Monday. And it wasn’t district attorney.

While meeting the press in Manhattan for his soon-to-be-released film The Life of David Gale, in which he plays a leading death penalty opponent who finds himself on death row — Spacey wore a decidedly conservative blue suit, guardedly liberal blue shirt and the cultivated caution of a politician on the make.

Did he have thoughts on the way Hollywood has dealt with the death penalty in the past'

“I don’t really think of this as being a death penalty movie,” he said, “although that seems to be the way everybody is focusing.”

Isn’t this a delicate political time for such a provocative movie' “I don’t know whether it’s a provocative movie. We’ll find that out when the movie opens on February 21,” he said.

When the movie premiered two nights earlier at the Berlin Film Festival, did he sense anything among the European audience regarding anti-Americanism, pro-Americanism, any kind of Americanism'

The response, he said illusively, was “thunderous.”

“If there’s a message in the movie, it’s decidedly unclear and muddled. It’s not an anti-death penalty film. I didn’t set out to proselytise for a particular position, because I don’t really have one: It’s clearly an uncomfortable issue. Maybe the movie will get people talking.”

London’s Old Vic Theatre' That Spacey will talk about.

As was announced last week by Elton John (chairman of the Old Vic Theatre Trust), Spacey, 43, is to begin an open-ended appointment as director of the 180-year-old theatre, upon whose stage the likes of Olivier, Gielgud, Redgrave and Richardson have trod.

While he has said he would not give up his film career, Spacey is expected to appear in at least two productions a year, directing the new permanent company as well and, the theatre’s trustees no doubt pray, luring certain Hollywood colleagues to London for stints on a venerable but unwell stage. (The Old Vic is is need of major renovations to its leaking walls and roof, problems that apparently linger from World War II bomb damage).

Dame Judi Dench, director Stephen Daldry (The Hours) and Howard Davies, who directed Spacey’s successful 1998 London run in The Iceman Cometh are among those expected to join him at the Old Vic.

“My motivation for doing it,” said Spacey, who’s been on the theatre’s board for five years, “is that I’ve spent my entire life having the theatre be my primary allegiance. I always feel I have to remind people that I’ve only been making movies for seven years. Before that, it’s been theater, and I literally feel that my entire life has been leading up to this decision.”

Spacey said running a theatre has been his dream since he was 13. “And to find myself in a leadership role at a theatre that happens to have one of the most extraordinary histories, and where some of the greatest actors in the world have played, for me, it’s just beyond my wildest imaginings.”

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