“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.” – Kevin Spacey
Kevin Spacey has indeed played a long line of dark, manipulative
characters; we love to hate his well executed villains. Here are some
of my favorites:
His “John Doe” is mostly a voiceover. Do we ever actually see him? His mere absence from the film actually makes his
character all the more intriguing. Seven is a film about two homicide detectives’ hunt for Spacey’s serial killer who justifies his crimes as the world’s ignorance of the Seven Deadly Sins. John Doe’s victims involuntarily play a role in his version of the Seven Deadly Sins: Wrath, Envy, Greed, Pride, Lust, Sloth, and Gluttony.
The Usual Suspects (1995)
A boat has been destroyed, criminals are dead, and the key lies with the only survivor, Verbal Kent, and his convoluted story incriminating five career crooks in a police
lineup. The mysterious Keyser Söze, the mastermind of the big heist, remains at large until the end.
American Beauty (1999)
Lester Burnham is a middle-aged corporate cog in the middle of a mid-life crisis. He decides to turn his life around after quitting his job. He chides his wife, relishing in her dissatisfaction with his new attitude.
Lester and Carolyn Burnham appear to be the perfect husband and wife, in a perfect house with untouchable upholstery, in a perfect neighborhood. But Lester finally snaps when he becomes infatuated with one of his daughter’s friends. It’s refreshing, in a strange sort of way, to watch him rebel against this perfect suburban enclave.
House of Cards (2012)
Francis “Frank” Underwood is a conniving congressman from South Carolina who loses his chance at being the next Secretary of State. He does what it takes, with his wife’s undying support, to get what he wants, crushing everyone in his path. He develops a relationship with young Zoe who releases media scams along the way via social media, and contributes to their dysfunctional sexual relationship.
House of Cards is one of a handful of series put up by Netflix. The first 13 episodes were released at the same time to addicted series
viewers. Netflix’ twitter feed tempted us all with their tweet:“How far into House of Cards are you? Don’t forget to shower, eat something, stretch! #watchresponsibly.”
Kevin Spacey definitely has his roots in theater. In February of 2003, he made a major move back to the theatre. He was appointed Artistic Director to save the famous Old Vic theatre. His first production was the September 2004 British premiere of the play Cloaca. He also made his UK Shakespearean debut in the title role of Richard II in 2005. He starred in Eugene O’Neill’s A Moon for the Misbegotten along with ‘Colm Meaney’ and Eve Best, and in 2007 that show went to Broadway. In February 2008 Spacey put on a revival of the David Mamet 1988 play Speed-the-Plow.
“I was beginning to feel I just didn’t want to go through another 10 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.” – Kevin Spacey
Whatever the case, he thrives in both theatre and films. I’ll be looking for his next villain – to love to hate.