Kevin Spacey


  1. JE Freeman, Miller’s Crossing, 1990.    The Coen brothers tackle 30s/40s, gangster noir. Eddie Dane was written (and nicknamed) for Stormare.  He was booked. So, the siblings slooked over Spacey, Ray Barry, Gary Cole,  David Strathairn, Ron Vawter.  The Swede became The Dane – exactly what Stormare was playing on Broadway.  Hamlet. 
  2. John Getz, Curly Sue, 1990. “What I thought would be this cute, sweet little movie experience ended up going on for something like five months,” reported Kelly Lynch. “So much money was spent. It was insane! But a great experience. It was originally going to be me,Alec Baldwin and Kevin Spacey, which would’ve been a whole different situation.  [They left for stage dates].  Those were two guys I knew really well, but I’d never met Jimmy [Belushi] before, and then he and [director John Hughes] didn’t get along. I kinda felt like a mom dealing with two 12-year-old boys. They, uh, definitely weren’t the best of friends.“[Quotes via IMDb; no other soruce credited].
  3. Matt McCoy, The Hand That Rocks The Cradle, 1992.      Getting into movies was hard for the young  actor. Spacey wrote to directors and conned his way into meets (and Studio 54) saying:  “I’m Johnny Carson’s  son.” Mike Nichols, one of his Broadway directors, finally gave him a break – Heartburn, 1986, with Nicholson and Streep.  No wonder Spacey  passed on this  zero role in a film all about Rebecca De Mornay.

  4. Gabriel Byrne, The Usual Suspects, 1994.     At first, Spacey was more keen on being Keaton… 
  5. Chazz Palminteri, The Usual Suspects, 1994.   …or Kujan. Before he entered the classic as Keyser Söze, winning a support actor Oscar on March 25, 1996.

  6. Bill Pullman, Independence Day, 1995.
    Producer Dean Devlin wrote  the US President  for his high  school pal,   Spacey.  Of course, the suits knew better. “The executive  who’s no longer there, said he just didn’t think Kevin was a movie star,”  recalled Devlin. “Kevin had started to become very well known for doing villains and we thought it’d be fantastic if you were actually thinking that the President is going to turn out to be villainous… and the surprise is when he makes the big speech and gets into the plane and leads the troops into battle…  There’s no one else who could pull that off like Kevin can.  When we couldn’t get him and we got Pullman, who I love, it had to change. Pullman is just so loveable from the first second, so we just decided to just make him the most loveable President in history.”  Without question, Spacey would have stolen the thriller from toplined Will Smith…. even   if Spacey had phoned his lines in! 

  7. Al Pacino, The Devil’s Advocate, 1996.    Some years before, director Joel Schumacher had tried to set it up with Brad Pitt as the Grishamesque lawyer finding that his bossis… Satan. Pacino refused it four times until Taylor Hackford took overthe helm – and excised most of the supernaturals.
  8. Eric Roberts, Doctor Who (The Movie), TV, 1996.   
  9. James Woods, Hercules, 1997.    The directors had no idea who should voice Hades.  “Why don’t you ask Jack?”suggested their Philoctetes, Danny Vito. Jack was keen. For his nomal fee – between $10m and $15m. Disney offered… $500,000.  Hence talks began with Spacey,David Bowie, James Coburn, Willem Dafoe, Phil Hartman, Michael Ironside, Michael Keaton, Martin Landau, Broadway’s Terrence Mann, Ron Silver and Rod Steiger. Then, John Lithgow got the gig and recorded it all. Next thing he knew, Jimmy Woods was adlibbing Hades to glory with Robin Williams/Aladdin bravura.  And made it a growth industry with the TV series and  various video games. 
  10. Samuel L Jackson, The Negotiator, 1998.    Difficult to say who has the titular role as both men – first Sylvester Stallone-Spacey, then Spacey-Jackson – are trained hostage negotiators… ahead of each other’s strategies.

  11. Jim Carrey, Man on the Moon, 1998.  Hollywood’s possibles for the biopic of surrealist comic Andy Kaufman included  Hank Azaria, John Cusack, Matt Damon, Tom Hanks, Edward  Norton, Kevin Spacey. Oh and Nicolas Cage. Not for long as  he refused to audition. Czech director Milos Forman could not decide between Carrey and Norton. He let Universal decide. Carrey was the bigger draw. And brilliant!  “During the shooting,” recalled Forman, “I met Jim Carrey only twice. “He was always in the role.  He was Andy Kaufman, Tony Clifton or Elvis Presley 24 hours a day!”

  12. Jason Isaacs, The Patriot, 1999.   Once title star Mel Gibson was paid $25m, the cuboard was bare when it came to negotiate with Team Spacey in this Bravehearted – but dishonest  – take on the American Revolutionary War. Enter: a real Brit taking over the dastardly British Colonel Tavington. “The British are seen as gentlemanly fops or sadistic monsters,” noted critic Roger Ebert, “and the Americans come in two categories: brave or braver.”

  13. Willem Dafoe, The Boondock Saints, 1999.     Having read the script, critically assaulted as “clichéd, inelegant, and slow-witted,”Spacey passed on thegay, opera-loving FBI agent hunting – and envying – a pair of Boston Irish twins knocking off the Mafia, Russian and local. The film was writer-directed by Troy Duffy, mistakenly touted by producer Harvey Weinstein as the new Tarantino – well, the F Word was used 246 times (versus 272 in Reservoir Dogs and  265 in Pulp Fiction).

  14. Bill Nighy,  Arthur Christmas, 2010.  The grumpy 136-year-old Grandsanta was also aimed at Robert De Niro in the Sony toon about Santa’s clumsy offspring having two hours to solve a major Christmas gift glitch.
  15. Jeff Bridges, K-Pax, 2001.    Again, Spacey took over the lead – this time when Will Smith gave up on being a possible alien, with Spacey as the shrink searching for the truth. When Spacey became Prot, the shrink went, cleverly, to… Starman, himself.
  16. James Caan, City of Ghosts,  2002.    Matt Dillon starred in Spacey’s impressive directing debut, Albino Alligator, 1993.  Three years on, positions were to be  reversed when  Dillon flew solo with his Cambodian riff on The  Third Man.  But he was living in London
  17. Sam Rockwell, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, 2002.  … and he couldn’t take off for another three years because he was extremely  busy…  running London’s Old Vic Theatre. Stage producer Scott Griffin famously called Spacey the Norman Bates of show business. “One minute, he asks you to come in fom the rain, have a sandwich, and talk about his bird collection, and the next minute you’re standing there buck naked and he’s  dressed as  an old lady coming at you with a carving knife.”
  18. Brad Pitt, Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, 2002.   For its last hand-drawn 2-D toon, Russell Crowe  was DreamWorks’ top choice for the hero. When he got stuck on another project, Pitt and Kevin Spacey were mused over. Nolo contendere, right!?  
  19. Richard Gere, Chicago, 2002.

  20. Steve Martin, Looney Tunes: Back in Action, 2002.  “A pretty grim experience all around –  longest year and a half of my life.”  Director Joe Dante refusing to say anymore about how his planned tribute to his late friend, toon ikon Chuck Jones, ended up a mess. Then again, when the suits approve Dalton over Spacey, Alec Baldwin, Brian Cranston, Robert De Niro and  Tommy Lee Jones for Damien Drake,  you know you’re in trouble.
  21. Keanu Reeves, Constantine, 2003.   If ever a movie deserved to fail… Fascinated by Alan Moore’s DC/Vertigo comic book hero, Hellblazer, Hollywood changed the title in case anyone was dumb enough to muddle it with Hellraiser (impossible with the target geek audience), and changed the Liverpudlian supernatural detectiveinto just another LA cop chasing demons down mean streets. Spacey, Nic Cage, Mel Gibson fled and Moore took his name off it.
  22. Gerard Butler, The Phantom of the Opera, 2003. Spacey, Antonio Banderas, Michael Crawford (Broadway’s Phantom), Hugh Jackman, Heath Ledger, Meat Loaf, Matthew McConaughey and John Travolta were on the titular list . Scotland won! And Spacey sang for his supper the following year…
  23. Geoffrey Rush, The Life and Death of Peter Sellers, 2004.    For the version according to the UK’s top director, Stephen Frears. Instead of bio-ing Andy Kaufman or Sellers, Spacey directed himself as Bobby Darin in Beyond The Sea, 2004.
  24. Steve Martin, The Pink Panther, 2004.  Working title: The Birth of…  More like: The Death of…   In May 2000,  Spacey yelled: Help! He’d had two only chats with MGM but since the Los Angeles Times  said he was  being courted for the reboot he’d had to answer 8,000 Inspector Clouseau media questions.   Theatre producer Scott Griffin called Spacey the Norman Bates of show business. “One minute, he asks you to come in fom the rain, have a sandwich, and talk about his bird collection, and the next minute you’re standing there buck naked and he’s dressed as an old lady coming at you with a carving knife.” Or worse…
  25. Gary Oldman, Paranoia, 2012.    Not even paranoid…   in the 35th film with this title since 1967.  Passed one warring billionaire to Oldman.  A bald Harrison Ford played the other warring billionaire hellbent on destroying each other. Liam Hemsworth was piggy-in-the-middle. 

  26. Christopher Plummer, All The Money in the World, 2017.  
    All was set for for a Christmas opening, when the first of 20 sexual abuse allegations hit Spacey’s closet. He had the vital role of the world’s then richest man, John Paul Getty. Not any more, said director Ridley Scott. He was so disgusted by the account of Spacey trying to assault 14-year old boy actor Anthony Rapp (now in the new Star Trek crew) that with six weeks to go to the premiere, Scott sliced Spacey out and re-shot his scenes with Christopher Plummer. (He’d always been second choice). “I didn’t even think about it.” Scott told Mike Fleming Jr at Deadline Hollywood.  “I said: We can’t let this happen. We’ve got the opportunity and just enough time to correct it. And that’s what we did.” Why? To avoid Spacey’s stench turning the public off the movie, or even having it banned by some cinema chains – ruining the work of an 800-plus crew. A rescue mission on this time-scale had never been attempted before. Only Ridley could pull it off. And he did so… just before his 80th birthday! His actors, Michelle Williams and (the miscast) Mark Walhberg, gave up their Thanksgiving break to work with Plummer over nine days. “We don’t need extra pay or anything,” they said.  
    was also canned from his hit series, House of Cards. Welcome to the post-Weinstein Hollywood.

    Plummer - Spacey

    Spacey out ... Plummer in.
     © Scott Free Productions, 2017


27. Gary Oldman, Mank,  2019. David Fincher had been waiting since the 90s to direct his father’s script about the Citizen Kane scenarist Herman J Mankiewicz.  David then wanted Spacey as Mank and Jodie Foster as Marion Davies, the actress- mistress of Press baron William, Randolph Hearst (aka Charles Foster Kane!).  “It completely fell apart,” said David mainly due to his insistence on shooting in black-white. “Polygram got cold feet because of all kinds of truly stupid boilerplate stuff involving output deals in Central America. We’d have had to shot the film in color and then corrected it and do a black-and-white version…”  His father died of  cancer in 2003.






 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  27