TURIN, Italy (AP) — Making his first appearance since #MeToo-era allegations derailed his career, actor Kevin Spacey used a colorful Italian term to thank the National Museum of Cinema in the city of Turin, in the north, for having had the courage to invite him. .
Spacey received a lifetime achievement award from the museum, discussed key roles during a masterclass, then presented the 1999 film ‘American Beauty,’ for which he won his second Academy Award. actor, in front of a sold-out crowd.
“I am truly blessed, grateful and humbled. And my heart is very full tonight towards the National Museum of Cinema for having the ‘le palle’ to invite me tonight,” Spacey said, using the Italian word for a part of the male body synonymous with courage, under the cheers of the audience of the master class. .
“In presenting this award, they are a strong advocate for artistic achievement and for that they must be applauded,” Spacey said.
Previous winners of the Stella della Mole award are actors Isabella Rossellini and Monica Bellucci, as well as director Dario Argento.
The sold-out events were billed as Spacey’s first speeches in five years. After multiple sexual assault allegations surfaced, the actor lost his starring role in the Netflix series ‘House of Cards’ and saw other opportunities dry up.
Spacey did not directly address the allegations when accepting the award or during the one-hour class. But while noting the loyalty of many fans, he said “the bond I share with them will not be easily severed by rampant and ever-changing mobocratic ties.”
He choked on thanking his manager Evan Lowenstein for his support, calling him “the brother I never had”.
Spacey said he was also “tremendously grateful” to Italian director Frank Nero, who cast him for a role in “The Man Who Drew God,” which was filmed in Turin. Spacey will be present when the film premieres later this week in Rome.
After the masterclass, fans lined up to take selfies and have DVDs signed.
“I actually missed him, and I think he had a great role in movies. He made Netflix what it is today,” said Chiara Ottolini, referring to the huge success of “House of Cards”. “I’m so happy to see him coming back, because you have to separate the man and the artist.”
Mery Bicci flew in from Milan to see Spacey, whom she considers one of the greatest actors of all time. She said she would have traveled even further.
“When the scandal happened, I mourned because I knew very well that they were going to ostracize him right away,” she said.
Spacey is due to stand trial in London in June on a dozen charges alleging he sexually assaulted four men between 2001 and 2013, including when he was artistic director of the city’s Old Vic theatre. He pleaded not guilty.
In October, a federal jury in a civil case in New York found that Spacey, 63, had not sexually abused actor Anthony Rapp when the two were relatively unknown actors on Broadway in 1986 and Rapp had 14 years old. Jurors deliberated for just over an hour before deciding that Rapp, now 50, had not proven his allegations.
Spacey has previously faced allegations in Massachusetts that he groped a man at a bar. Prosecutors later dropped the charges.
A Los Angeles judge in August approved an arbitrator’s decision to order Spacey to pay $30.9 million to the creators of “House of Cards” for violating his contract by sexually harassing crew members.
Elena Cortini, a college design student seeing “American Beauty” for the second time, said she wasn’t sure what to make of the allegations and preferred to focus on the craftsmanship of the 1999 film.
“If he gets his life back together like he said, good for him,” she said.