It was announced yesterday (24 May) that Spacey is to make his acting comeback as a detective investigating a false claim of paedophilia.
The Italian drama – titled The Man Who Drew God – will star the Oscar-winner, who has been accused by multiple people of sexual misconduct, opposite Vanessa Redgrave.
The film is Spacey’s first acting role in four years, after he was accused by at least 20 men of sexual misconduct at London’s Old Vic Theatre between 1995 and 2013. Other allegations against Spacey included a sexual assault claim by the actor Anthony Rapp, who alleged that Spacey assaulted him when he was 14 years old.
Spacey has denied all claims of sexual misconduct, and no charges have been brought against him.
In the wake of the news, one of Spacey’s accusers, Mark Ebenhoch – who alleged sexual misconduct occurred on the set of 1995’s Outbreak – criticised the decision.
Ebenhoch told TMZ that the casting was “arrogant”, “irresponsible” and “absurd” given the actor’s alleged history of sexual misconduct and the film’s subject matter.
He added that when he first learned of Spacey’s forthcoming role, his first thought was: “What the hell?”
According to the outlet, Ebenhoch is hopeful that Spacey’s alleged behaviour is no longer an issue.
Amid backlash to the casting, the film’s director, Franco Nero, has defended the decision, telling CNN that he cast Spacey “because he is a great actor”.
Nero also said he believed the accusations against the 61-year-old to be “false”.
The Independent has contacted a representative of Spacey’s for comment.
Spacey was dropped from his Netflix series House of Cards amid the allegations, and also had his scenes completely reshot in the 2017 thriller All the Money in the World. Christopher Plummer stepped in to replace Spacey in the film, and was subsequently nominated for an Oscar.
In 2020, Spacey said that experiencing his acting career coming to a “grinding, screeching halt” led him to a personal epiphany. “I only valued and defined myself through work, that’s who I was,” he said. “If that wasn’t going to be a possibility anymore then who am I? If all I’m left with is just me?”
In April, it was reported that Spacey made a “surreal” courtroom appearance during a legal battle with House of Cards production company Media Rights Capital. The Hollywood Reporter claimed that the actor “sprang up from his seat and performed a song-and-dance number”.
The magazine also claimed that Spacey is facing the possibility of criminal charges in London over allegations of sexual misconduct, plus an ongoing civil lawsuit from a sexual assault accuser.
If you have been raped or sexually assaulted, you can contact your nearest Rape Crisis organisation for specialist, independent and confidential support. For more information, visit their website here.