Kevin Spacey set to return to screens after sex abuse allegations

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Kevin Spacey was removed from the last season of the hit Netflix political drama House of Cards after the sexual assault claims arose
Kevin Spacey was removed from the last season of the hit Netflix political drama House of Cards after the sexual assault claims arose

When Kevin Spacey was accused of a series of sordid allegations of sexual harassment and abuse, few would have imagined the Hollywood star would be seen on screen again.

But, just three years on, there are plans for him to star in a film with Vanessa Redgrave directed by her husband, Franco Nero, one of Italy’s most respected film talents.

Spacey – whose career collapsed when he was accused by more than a dozen men of inappropriate behaviour and abuse spanning several years – is being lined up by Nero for a central role in his film L’uomo che disegnò Dio (The Man who drew God).

The plot has echoes of Spacey’s own fall from grace, with the actor slated to play a detective investigating claims of paedophilia levelled against a blind artist.

Nero himself plays the artist, a blind man who can draw anybody’s exact physical features just by listening to their voices. Eventually he comes to the attention of a TV talent show, but the ensuing publicity leads to the artist being wrongfully accused of sex abuse.

Filming is due to begin shortly, in what could mark Spacey’s first big screen outing since the abuse scandal.

In an interview given after filming was interrupted when the Covid pandemic ravaged Italy, Nero said: “It’s a true story, the story of a man who, though blind, creates sculpture of peoples faces.

“Among the actors, I made contact with Kevin Spacey. I’d have been very happy to bring him back on to a film set. We’re waiting for the end of the pandemic to pick up from where our preparatory work was interrupted.”

Vanessa Redgrave with her husband, the director Franco Nero. Nero said he would welcome Spacey back to work on his film
Vanessa Redgrave with her husband, the director Franco Nero. Nero said he would welcome Spacey back to work on his film

It would be a remarkable turn of events for Spacey, who – when the allegations against him surfaced in 2017 – suffered the ignominy of being replaced by Christopher Plummer as John Paul Getty in Ridley Scott’s All The Money in the World. He was also removed from the last season of the hit Netflix political drama House of Cards.

Spacey was accused by actor Anthony Rapp of having made unwanted sexual advances towards him in 1985, when Rapp was aged just 14. A string of accusations of sexual assault or harassment by more than a dozen other men followed, but were all vehemently denied by Spacey.

Due to the statute of limitations expiring, the only case to proceed towards a criminal trial was that involving claims the actor sexually assaulted an 18-year-old in a Nantucket bar in 2016.

Prosecutors dropped the case in July 2019 after growing concern about a missing piece of mobile phone text evidence.

However, Spacey still faces proceedings in the US courts over claims of abuse. The Crown Prosecution Service is also in the process of deciding whether to charge him in connection with a number of allegations of sexual assault dating back to his time as artistic director at London’s Old Vic between 2004 and 2015.

Filming of L’uomo che disegnò Dio is due to begin shortly in the northern Italian city of Turin, though the film’s producers warn that hitches over dates and availability could still present difficulties in bringing Spacey back to the screen.

Representatives for Spacey have been contacted for comment.

The film is not the first time Spacey has turned to Italy as a platform for a return to the public eye. In August 2019, he made his first public appearance following the allegations, taking part in a reading in Rome about a wounded performer determined not to succumb to the blows he endures.

Spacey made the surprise appearance to read Gabriele Tinti’s poem The Boxer, about an exhausted fighter used for entertainment then left bleeding by the ringside.

In front of a startled audience, Spacey recited the lines: “They used me for their entertainment, fed on shoddy stuff. Life was over in a moment.”

It may be about to begin again for him.

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