Kevin Spacey doesn’t care if people think he’s a closet case. He just wants everyone to know about his Bobby Darin fetish
BY DANIEL KUSNER
A celebrity sex-tape almost always lures the public spotlight. But Kevin Spacey has an impenetrable shield about anything related to his private life.
Since he’s not married and refuses to cough up the goods, the notion is that Spacey must be hiding something.
It all started in 1998, when Esquire magazine ran “Kevin Spacey Has a Secret,” a feature that basically outed Spacey as a closet case. The actor slammed the piece calling it “dishonest and malicious.” Then Spacey conducted a surprisingly lengthy interview with Playboy, denying he was gay and scolding Esquire for sinking to sleazy standards.
In September 2002, New York magazine ran a harmless tidbit, saying Spacey rented a home on Fire Island Pines. Soon after, the magazine ran Spacey’s fabulously imaginative and chiding reply pointing out the rumor’s falsehoods.
But last year, Spacey’s protective edge softened when he told police he was attacked and robbed of his cell phone while walking his dog in a London park at 4:30 a.m.
Bizarrely, hours later, an injured and “embarrassed” Spacey withdrew his earlier claim and said he wasn’t mugged. He apparently tripped and fell after chasing some “kid” who hightailed it after Spacey loaned him the use of his phone.
Journalists had fun with this dog-walking incident.
Spacey lives in London where he serves as the artistic director of The Old Vic Theatre. But for the past five years, the actor-director has also been working to bring performer Bobby Darin’s life story to the big screen.
In 1958, Darin burst onto the teen-idol scene with the catchy hit “Splish Splash.” But his swinging version of Kurt Weil’s “Mack the Knife” showcased a bouncy smoothness that was oh-so-daddy-o hip. He married America’s sweetheart Sandra Dee and was nominated for an Academy Award before dying at the age of 37 while undergoing heart surgery.
Spacey grew up listening to Darin. He studied and obsessed over him before securing the rights to Darin's biography.
“Beyond the Sea,” which opens Friday, is his tribute to help restore Darin’s lackluster spot in the cultural canon. Spacey sings all the movie-musical's songs. A few weeks ago, he stopped in Dallas to promote the biopic.
Spacey is a witty and animated individual. And like most moviemakers, he can talk a blue streak about the production headaches and his gifted costars. But when Spacey recounts an especially delicious memory, the gaydar needle bounces off the peg. The man is fierce.
It’s not that Spacey is overly effeminate. But when he gets on a roll, he exhibits a dramatic flair that gay men have laid claim to since the invention of the bar stool.
For example: Although Spacey just received a Golden Globe nomination for his acting in “Beyond the Sea,” the film is already getting a truckload of stinging criticism — mostly it’s been labeled a bloated vanity project. With his scowling eyes and dramatic chin tossing, Spacey launched into a priceless Joan Crawford-esque tirade when our discussion touched on the wave of negative reviews.
“I understand the criticism that people come under when they try new things. And since ‘American Beauty,’ I’ve come under it myself. It’s almost like they’re saying ‘How! Dare! You! Who do you think you are?’” Spacey growls in a voice that could rattle Alexis Colby Carrington.
“I’m an actor!” he continues. “And this ain’t fucking brain surgery. I’m trying new stuff. Why does that cause such truly mean-spirited commentary? And my answer to it all is, ‘It’s not your life — it’s my life. And I have to live my life on my terms!’”
You go, girl.
Spacey immediately calms down when the conversation shifts to his gay fans, who are so desperate to claim the talented character actor as one of their own.
“I’ve had no problem with people wanting to claim anything,” he says. “Anybody who wants to think that is perfectly fine. Because there’s nothing wrong with [being gay]. And that’s the place we ought to get to in this country — where it doesn’t matter. It shouldn’t be a litmus test people have to pass. It shouldn’t be something people have to talk about if they choose not to.”
While American journalists have taken a few jabs at Spacey’s guarded personal life, the British tabloids are apparently ruthless.
“I’ve always been a person who put a certain line in the sand and said I’m not going to cross over this line. I’m not interested in participating in the kind of celebrity culture that we all seem to be living in. And now I’ve placed myself smack in the middle of it by living in the UK,” Spacey says.
I mention that gay men might be the first ones to line up for a movie-musical starring Kevin Spacey.
“I certainly hope people come — straight people and gay people,” he says. “I hope they all walk out of the movie singing and swinging and humming along because that’s my evil plan.”
DALLAS VOICE | 12.24.05