Kevin Spacey Anecdotes Told by Kevin Himself
"Let me tell you a funny story about that movie, The Usual Suspects. At the end of the screening for the cast and crew, Gabriel Byrne got up and went over to the director, Bryan Singer, and took him outside, and they got into this huge, heated discussion because Gabriel was absolutely convinced that he was (to play) Keyser Soze. I remember this incredible argument going on, Gabriel was screaming, 'I thought I was Keyser Soze! I was Keyser Soze!'" -- Kevin Spacey, Smoke Magazine, Summer 1998
"I was in junior high school in California when I saw a play Katharine Hepburn did. After the performance, I waited outside the theater with a bouquet of roses, and Hepburn came out a side door, stopped and said, 'You waited for me. How lovely.' She took the roses and sat on the bumper of her car and talked to me for 10 minutes about Spencer Tracy and acting.
"I didn't see Hepburn again until years later. She came backstage after seeing me in Long Day's Journey Into Night. She walked into the dressing room, hit me on the shoulder and said, 'You must be exhausted!' She shut the door and talked to me for quite a while. I couldn't bring myself to tell her that I met her as a boy. So the next day I sent her a big bouquet of flowers and a letter explaining to her that we had met once before. She wrote me back a very sweet letter and said it was the first time she had gotten flowers for coming to see a play rather than being in one. I was just amazed at the circle of that."
-- Kevin Spacey, Parade Magazine, October 24, 1999
"I had a teacher at Julliard that was incredible, who I presumed didn't care for me because she was so tough on me, and I said that one day in sort of heated anger about some confrontation that we had. She said to me, 'You big idiot!' She said, 'Don't you realize that I'm hard on you because I think and I know that you're the most talented student in this class and the laziest.'"
"And I was, like [Spacey puts on a dumbfounded face] 'whoa!' I think people drop seeds, and sometimes it took a while for those seeds to grow [and] for me to realize that, 'Oh, you mean I really have to work? I have to work at this?!' So, umm, I went to work." -- Kevin Spacey, Paper, March 1999
"... I'll tell you something I think only my friends know about me: I move furniture around. This is how bad it is: My friends'll come around for dinner and then they'll come back again a few weeks later to play with the dogs or bring their kids to hang out, and the furniture will probably have changed four or five times since then. They'll go, 'Hey, Kevin, wasn't the couch over there before?'
"'Yeah.' 'So why did you move it?' And I can't tell them why. 'I don't know. I guess I just didn't like it over there anymore.' I can't stop moving furniture, and I do it alone at 3 in the morning. Do you know how I do it? I take a towel, because big, heavy pieces of furniture are hard to move without scratching the floor. I'll put the towel under a corner, tip and then drag the whole thing. I have a whole process." -- Kevin Spacey, Paper, March 1999
Danny DeVito invited Spacey to audition for a movie he was directing in the early Nineties, called 'Hoffa', a biography of the legendary union leader Jimmy Hoffa who vanished without a trace in 1975. It was during this initial interview that the pair became friends. Seated across from one another, only DeVito's desk separating them, they were suddenly interrupted by what Spacey describes as a near death experience.
"All of a sudden Danny's eyes go wide open and this stage prop fell on top of my head," Spacey says laughing. "I was lying on the floor and he's saying, "Oh my God I've killed him. the papers are going to say DeVito killed Spacey!" -- British Airways High Life - January 2000
What's the strongest memory you have of the day your father died?
"Well, there was a sense of relief, because he had suffered and had been sickly for so long almost 10 years. Finally he was at peace. This sounds like a horrible story, but it was incredibly funny if you were there. My mother wasn't entirely sure that she wanted to see my father in the coffin. You know how you can put anything in the coffin that you want to? We put in a Smithsonian replica of the VW Bug that my father had loved his whole life. And I put the five dollars in the casket that my father claimed I always owed him. And my mother said to me, outside of the funeral home, "I don't know if I want to see him." And I said, "Well, let me go in. Let me see him first." So I went in and I spent about ten minutes with him and then I came out and she was in the hallway. I looked at my mother and I said, "I think you should see him." And she said. "You do?" I said, "Yes, I think you should." She said, "Does he look OK?" I said, "Mom, he looks wonderful, you know, for a dead guy!" We both started giggling in the hallway of this funeral home, and Mother turned to me and said, "These people are going to think that we killed him for insurance money because we were laughing at his funeral."
"My mother and I have a very malicious sense of humor. It's very wry and dry. And here was an amazing moment: Day of his funeral, we came back to the house and Mother said, "His pocket watch." My father wore a pocket watch every day of his life and he wound it every day, a pocket watch he bought during World War II, in Scotland. She ran upstairs to his jewelry box. She came downstairs and clicked open the case. And she said, "Oh my God." I said, "What?" We both looked at the time on the watch and it had stopped at exactly the time of my father's death. Exactly. And my mother looked at me and said, "Well, when your time is up, your time is up!" -- Kevin Spacey, Maxim Fashion Fall / Winter - 2001/02
Who is the coolest person you ever met?
"Peter O'Toole. I met him when he came backstage during The Iceman Cometh. He surprised me and grabbed my head like it was a little football, with both of his hands around the back of it, and then began to say the most wonderful series of adjectives that I've heard funny, brilliant, hilarious, quick, fast, clever.
"But as he was doing that, he was banging the back of my head with his hand, and I literally thought I was going to be knocked out because it was so hard. But I didn't care at this point. Peter O'Toole was bashing my head in with compliments, and it was fine by me. I thought, That's a way to die." -- Kevin Spacey, Maxim Fashion Fall / Winter - 2001/02
Esquire: I am anxious to know whether Jeff Bridges was really The Dude, the character he plays in The 'Big Lebowski'?
Spacey smiles and slowly nods. "Oh yeah. I went up to Santa Barbara and we spent a day and night together. He took me to see Neil Young and Beck in this out- door arena and then we sat around singing Beatles songs. He has his own studio, he plays the drums and guitar. We just clicked." He lowers his voice. "He was so The Dude. It was perfect." -- Esquire UK, March 2002
[While filming K-PAX] The actor especially enjoyed having the chance to "talk" to a dog, razzing that "the dog was one of the better actors I've worked with. Knew his lines. Didn't pee on me. Actually, what was great about the particular take they used is that that dog wasn't being cute at that moment. The dog interrupted me. I was supposed to go straight on with the rest of the dialogue and he started barking. So I said, 'I bet he's got more to say.'" -- AT & T Broadband Monthly, May 2002
If moviegoers had any question about Spacey's ability to croon Bobby Darin's songs--or anyone else's for that matter--that question was set to rest during two recent events. In two very public venues--the benefit performance that replaced last year's Latin Grammys and "Come Together - A Night for John Lennon's Words and Music, " which served as a post-September 11 benefit concert, Spacey surprised more than a few folks with his ability to carry a tune and hit a high note.
Spacey, who also hosted the Lennon tribute, briefly panicked at the thought of following top-name talent onto the stage, but credits the 6,000-plus crowd at Radio City Music Hall with helping him to bare his pipes in front of a live--and televised--audience.
"The moment the audience realized what I was doing, this roar came up. People were on their feet before I even opened my mouth and the energy ... wow. They started screaming; they were absolutely so totally with me that that gave me the confidence to be able to get through the song. What I wanted that evening to be and what I wanted people to feel, I really felt coming back. For me, it was just an extraordinary healing." -- Cigar Aficionado, February 2003
"The 'Newfies' themselves joke that they have four seasons: fall, winter, misery and summer. "We," grins Spacey, "were pretty much in misery the whole time!"
Hours off the set [of The Shipping News] were predominantly spent with fellow cast and crew members; the group became enamored of a bar called Rocky's, where Spacey and some locals taught Dame Judi Dench to play pool. "She pretended not to like it but she did. I think that it surprised a lot of people to see a Dame up there with her ass on the end of a pool table trying to do a backhand shot. "It was," smiles Spacey, "pretty hilarious."-- Cigar Aficiando, February 2003
Theatre came early in Kevin Spacey's life. On a trip to London at aged 10 he saw a production of Sherlock Holmes where the revolving scenery crashed down on Dr. Watson's head; the actor extracted himself, strolled up-stage, lit a cigarette and declared, "I knew I should never have moved to Kensington." Spacey hoots. "I thought it was incredible, the funniest thing I'd ever seen. That's what I wanted to do... And - oh, the circles of my life - I told that story in the dressing room at the Almeida, and Tim Pigott-Smith turned round and said, 'Yes, Dr Watson was me.'" -- Marie Claire (UK) - April 2003
Hollywood Life: Your mentor, the late, great Jack Lemmon, is one of the few actors besides you to win Academy Awards for both leading and supporting roles. What was special about him?
Kevin Spacey: "He was always someone I could pick up the phone and call for advice. He was a father figure to me, always open, and gave me great advice. When we were doing a play together on the road, Jack would go golfing in the afternoon with his expensive embroidered golf bag and clubs. One day I was walking my 97-pound dog named Slaight and I stopped to talk to him. A few moments later we noticed Slaight had taken a piss on his golf bag. Jack didn't say anything - he just looked at me and growled. Then he turned this moment of humiliation for me into a running gag he'd tell everyone. Months later, when we were doing Long Day's Journey Into Night together, Jack had come offstage for a quick costume change, and as he goes into his dressing room, there I am sitting in his chair with my dog on a leash holding a large pooper scooper! I think he laughed for the next 15 minutes onstage." -- Hollywood Life - July 2006
"It took me fifteen years to win two Oscars and you made it in four, you son of a bitch."
-- Kevin Spacey, CIAK Magazine, Jan 2002