Anghus Houvouras on whether it is time to erase Kevin Spacey from history…
It’s rare that you get to see a snowball rolling down a hill. The popular metaphor about momentum has always struck me as odd for a few reasons. First, how often does someone roll a snowball down a hill, much less successfully have a hand-sized ball of snow transform into a gigantic ice-cold flattening orb? Second, even if this was physically probable it’s doubtful that you were there to witness it. More than likely, you’re seeing the thing just moments before it mows you down like a Looney Tunes character.
The last few weeks has been the first time that the snowball metaphor has felt apt. I watched, as so many did, as accusations rolled out against small type perps like Devin Faraci, Harry Knowles and their enablers like the head of Alamo Drafthouse/Fantastic Fest/Mondo Art Time League. Small groups of victims were coming forward and speaking out. As the names of the perpetrators became larger and more well-known, so did the countless number of brave men and women speaking out against this abhorrent behavior. The continuing conversation was gaining mass. Soon it was Harvey Weinstein in the spotlight and then the conversation turned to Kevin Spacey.
One of America’s most renowned actors. An actor who had been in the business for decades and having been thrilling audiences and critics since his double-whammy breakout performances in The Usual Suspects and Se7en. He has appeared in hundreds of movies and television shows still managing to be culturally relevant up until the very moment Anthony Rapp decided to speak out. You could almost feel the moment that Spacey held up a sign that said ‘yikes’ before the snowball smashed into his career causing irreparable damage.
Netflix cut him loose from House of Cards, studios began killing projects with his name attached and this week Ridley Scott decided to replace Spacey from an already completed film with Christopher Plummer. People are not only distancing themselves from Spacey, they are surgically removing him from cinema. That got me thinking.
Is it time to erase Kevin Spacey from Cinematic History?
Technology has advanced greatly in the past few decades. Special effects houses like ILM and Weta are able to create the impossible on-screen. They can de-age actors and make them appear half their age. They can re-animate dead actors with Digital Doppelgangers like they did with Peter Cushing in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. So why not use the same technology to digitally replace Kevin Spacey in all his previous films?
Let’s get Andy Serkis and a motion-capture team set up and start working our way through Kevin Spacey’s filmmography and replacing him with other actors. Not all of his movies, obviously. That would take way too much time. There’s no need to waste energy replacing him in garbage like Pay It Forward or Nine Lives. But the socially relevant and still-popular Kevin Spacey movies? The Usual Suspects. Se7en. American Beauty. L.A. Confidential. The films that have and will stand the test of time… the ones that will still be watched and discussed in fifty years time: Get Kevin Spacey out of there. It’s not enough to have Kevin Spacey’s career be ruined at this late stage due to his inexcusable behavior. We need to take away his legacy.
Thankfully, the technology exists to make this happen. All that is required is the will of the studios to spend the time and resources (i.e. money) to digitally replace Kevin Spacey from his past films. As for who to replace him with, I can’t say. That’s up to the studios and the directors of the various films he appeared. If it were up to me, I’d put Michael Keaton as Lester Burnham in American Beauty. Chris Pine would be great for Jack Vincennes. Jai Courtney would make a great Chris Sabian.
Knowing what we now know, it seems not only possible to erase Kevin Spacey from cinematic history, but the only morally righteous choice. Hollywood can set a strong precedent now: This behavior will not be tolerated. Studios have the ability to not only take away your future prospects but completely erase your career with a few clicks of a mouse.
All it takes for this to happen is just a little more momentum. So which studio will be first to roll the snowball?