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Kevin Spacey Prefers Theater to Film or TV: “Theater is in my blood; it is in my makeup”

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Kevin Spacey might be best known for his TV and film work, but he’s well-versed in the theater world as well. In a recent interview with the Cleveland Plain Dealer, he explained how much the medium meant to him.

He said, “I’m a theater rat. I started in the theater in junior high school; I went all through high school being in the drama class and doing all the plays and doing all the festivals. I went to Juilliard and studied theater.

I started in the New York theater and I traveled the country doing plays, and I’ve had the great fortune of being able to go over to Great Britain and do theater there. Then I chose to move to London and, for the past 10 years, run a theater.”

It is so much a part of his personal DNA. Spacey enthusiastically explained, “Theater is in my blood; it is in my makeup. Everything I’ve learned about acting, about directing, about storytelling, I learned in the theater. If I’ve had any success in film, it’s because of my life in the theater.

The theater was never a steppingstone to film. It is a viable, hugely important, just-as-engaging form of expression. And one of the things that I’ve sort of noticed over the years is that once you have success in film, people are like, ‘So wait, why did you go back to the theater?’”

The House of Cards star understands that this mentality is trap. He shared, “That’s just because people put too much value on fame and money. And the theater is not about money, and, to a large degree, it’s not about fame. That’s one of the things I’m happiest about in the film – you get to know a group of journeymen actors and actresses who are not famous but who are the lifeblood of the living theater.”

To give his fans an inside glimpse of his theatrical life, the 54-year-old actor filmed a documentary of his 10-month, 12-venue worldwide tour of Shakespeares’s Richard III. The film is called Now: In the Wings on a World Stage.

“I just wanted to capture as much of the experience [of the tour] as we could, but as we got more and more into editing and really began to see what the themes were, we found we could really give this rather intimate, behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to be in a company and what a company is,” he said. “Those experiences you have off-stage are just as valuable as the experiences you have onstage.”

Spacey is about to start another theater venture in London with the one-man show, Clarence Darrow, at the Old Vic Theatre in London. The show runs May 28-June 15.

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