Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

I Was a Kevin Spacey Devotee His Fall from Grace Has Left Me Bereft and Disillusioned

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

I Was a Kevin Spacey Devotee His Fall from Grace Has Left Me Bereft and Disillusioned

Article excerpt

Byline: Rob Rinder

GROWING up, I always wanted to be an actor. I had all the ingredients to be a superb thespian except the talent. Ask anybody who attended the National Youth Theatre while I was there (at least three of them have been nominated for Oscars) and they will all say the same thing: "Robert who?!" I gave up any aspiration to tread the boards on day five of university when I saw Benedict Cumberbatch read for the same part I was auditioning for. It was a real-deal epiphany. I knew that I could never come close to the depth of his understanding of the text or the sheer magnetism radiating from the stage (even before he became the "sexiest man on the planet").

Acting, when it is good, can be transformative.

An actor with a genuine gift has the power to transport you from whatever your own pains may be into an entirely different world, freeing you from whatever you may be going through. At its best it can be better than any medication. At its best it can transport a working-class, closeted boy out of his home in Southgate into a world of limitless imagination.

In 1999 I took a hefty sum from my student loan and flew to New York to see Kevin Spacey in The Iceman Cometh. He was incredible. It was truly astonishing. I was for a long time a real, signed-up Spacey fan; I would go to see even the lesser plays twice. When he took the reins at The Old Vic I was delighted. And so it has been difficult to watch the events of the past month unfold. In fact, I have been reading Spacey's coming out/pseudo-apology statement over and over, with ever-mounting existential dread. I know what's coming, of course, because I've read the god-awful thing 50 times. Each time I read him create that malignant dotted line between "living as a gay man" and Anthony Rapp's account of Spacey's attempt to seduce him at 14, the mind-blurring horror bombards me afresh. The notion at the heart of Spacey's statement was that a grand "coming out" might niftily deflect from such a serious allegation. …

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