Kevin Spacey Talks About Learning From The Best – Jack Lemmon, Joseph Papp & Mike Nichols

After learning from the best as a young actor – Jack Lemmon, Joseph Papp, Mike NicholsKevin Spacey is ready to give back.

He’s developed a new competition called Jameson First Shot that will help upcoming filmmakers.  As he continues to support new talent, Spacey talked to VanityFair.com about the help he got from more experienced vets when he entered the acting community.

Spacey is open about the aid he got when he was starting out.  He said, “I wouldn’t have a career if it weren’t for first-time directors, first-time producers, first-time writers taking a chance on me.  I can pinpoint through my life the key individuals that spotted me, saw me, believed in my talent, encouraged me, nurtured me, took me under their wing, whether it was Jack Lemmon when I was 13 years old at a workshop with my drama class, or Joe Papp for whom I did my very first job in New York in Shakespeare in the Park playing a tavern person and then a guard and then a messenger—I had five lines in Henry IV, Part I, it was very exciting—or Al Pakula or Mike Nichols who were two film directors who stood up and fought for me and gave me roles very, very early on.”

Spacey remembers the kind of mentoring he received early on—guidance that has stayed with him over his long career.  The actor said, “One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from someone who was working with me very early on.  I was completely thinking about not being able to have enough auditions, and the question was asked of me, ‘Do you think you’re talented?’ and I said ‘Yeah.’  And then, ‘Do you think you’re raw, undeveloped, inexperienced—do you think those things are true, as well?’ and I was like, ‘Well, yeah.’  And the person said, ‘Well, then, why do you want to go show everyone in this business what you have right now?  Why don’t we just pick the things you’re ready for and start building your career that way?’  Quite often people get opportunities—and they’re just not ready for them.”

The two-time Academy Award winner notes that he often advises newcomers to take the time to really imagine what they want their careers to look like in the future.  Spacey said, “It’s very easy in this business, particularly because it is so much about the youth market, to look at your career and think, if I’m 22, 23, or 24 and I haven’t made it yet then I’m over-the-hill.  When in fact the history of film shows that actors really didn’t reach their stride until they were well into their 30s.  So I always try to encourage people to take the long view, to take the next 10 years and build your career—because I do believe that you can carve your own luck and fate.  It’s very often that people are very short-term—they want things instantly [snaps], and they want them now.”

Spacey has done well to choose his projects carefully, even if that meant not making a name for himself in Hollywood until later in his life.  He admitted, “My film career really didn’t take off until I was in my 30s.  I did a few things before that, but I was primarily a theater actor and I was trying to learn my craft.  I looked at the history of movies as a great example of that; Jimmy Stewart, Henry Fonda, Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Bette Davis—they all spent 10 years or more developing their craft in the theater before they ever made a movie.  I think I know I would have never had a film career and been that prepared, that when I walked on a film set I knew what I was doing in terms of creating a character.”

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Latest Videos

http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/interview-matt-dillon-and-carla.jpg
Interview: Matt Dillon and Carla Gugino Talk ‘Wayward Pines’
FOX has a new limited-series that’s got a terrific cast and interesting premise. It’s called Wayward Pines and stars Matt Dillon, Carla Gugino, Melissa Leo, Toby Jones, Terrance Howard, Juliette Lewis, Tim Griffin and Shannyn Sossamon. The show, whose pilot was directed by M. Night Shyamalan, is about a Secret Service agent (Dillon) goes to [...]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/interview-wayward-pines-stars-ti.jpg
Interview: ‘Wayward Pines’ Stars Tim Griffin and Shannyn Sossamon on the Show, Their Characters and More!
Griffin and Sossamonwere at Comic-Con where they sat in on some roundtable interviews to talk about the show.
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/interview-m-night-shyamalan-talk.jpg
Interview: M. Night Shyamalan Talks ‘Wayward Pines’ and Why He Expanded a Young Actors Role on the Show
I talked to Shyamalan at Comic-Con in a roundtable interview where he talked about the cast, what he learned from working in TV and how young actor Charlie Tahan started out with a small part but as the story grew, so did his role.
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/interview-wayward-pines-producer.jpg
Interview: ‘Wayward Pines’ Producers and Writer Talk Casting and the 10-Episode Format
FOX’s upcoming limited series Wayward Pines looks very cool. The show is supposed to be very Twin Peaks-ish in tone which, just hearing that, definitely sparks my interest. The pilot was directed by M. Night Shyamalan and stars Matt Dillon, Carla Gugino, Melissa Leo, Toby Jones, Terrance Howard and Juliette Lewis and is about a [...]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/interview-clark-gregg-on-agents.jpg
Interview: Clark Gregg on ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D’ and Only Needing to Know as Much as His Character in “Any Given Scene” (video)
When asked if he likes to know in advance what's going to happen to his character, he said that he "can't act it as well if he knows too much." He goes on to say that he "needs to know as much as Phil Coulson knows in any given scene."