Spacey Woos Mendes Back to Old Vic

Article excerpt

SAM MENDES and Kevin Spacey have announced they are teaming up again, seven years after they won an Academy Award for American Beauty.

Mendes, 41, who made his name in British theatre before going on to find success as a Hollywood director, will direct six classical plays in three years for the Old Vic, of which Spacey, 47, is the artistic director.

Titled the Bridge Project, the plays will feature some of the best British and American stage actors, starring in a double-bill of classic works shown at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Old Vic and a third international venue, starting next year in thePiccolo Teatro, Milan.

Two British actors have alreadybeen chosen for the first two seasons.

Next year, the company will stage two Shakespeare plays in the Italian city, with Stephen Dillane playing the title role in Hamlet and Prospero in the Tempest.

In the second year Simon Russell Beale will take the le ad s i n The Winter's Tale and The Cherry Orchard.

Mendes built up his reputation as a creative force in British theatre after he founded and ran the Donmar Warehouse for ten years up to 2003, at which point he had become a highly rated film director after American Beauty in 1999 and Road to Perdition in 2002. …