Kevin Spacey is Lex Luthor
Kevin Spacey is used to playing famous characters. His theater background has allowed him to go through much of Shakespeare’s works. The cinematic equivalent may be playing Lex Luthor in Superman Returns.
Kevin Spacey on Lex Luthor
“I kind of come at it from a perspective of how many actors have played Hamlet, or how many actors have played Iago,” Spacey said. “I think there is something great about audiences being able to see different actors do the same role, and come at it in a different way. I mean, I've seen countless productions of plays by different actors, and they're different by virtue of the fact that it's a different director, it's a different time, sometimes you see a modern production of the play, so in my mind in terms of these kind of parts, I feel the same way that I do about those kind of roles, which is that no single actor owns the part. We sort of rent it for a little while, and get a chance to explore it. And there's been great actors that have played Lex Luthor in the past, and obviously great actors have played Superman.”
With the cinema’s Luthor most famously portrayed by Gene Hackman, Spacey left it up to Bryan Singer to guide his own portrayal. “I didn't watch them, in terms of the respect for the Donner movies. I figured Bryan was going to take care of that completely, because he does so admire it, and he has such respect for the genre. I mean, Bryan unlike me grew up loving the comic book and stuff, and I never was into that when I was a kid. But I sort of avoided seeing it. Also, I accepted the movie before I saw the script and that's because I trust Bryan completely. But he'd given me a sort of shape and idea, and the thing he kept saying was, ‘This is going to be a much darker, a much more bitter, a much more seeking revenge Lex Luthor than we've seen before.’ And so I thought, ‘Well, it's probably best I don't get another performance in my head,’ so I just kind of avoided seeing it.”
Seriously, even two time Oscar winner Kevin Spacey is that susceptible to rival performances. “I just did Richard II in London, and there are film versions of Richard II, taped versions of other actors, or recordings of other actors, Gielgud's famous Richard II. And I deliberately avoided listening or watching them, because I think if something's really good, you can't help try to steal it. You just have to sort of say, ‘I'm gonna trust the director, I'm gonna trust whatever my own instincts are about this and allow myself to be shaped by somebody who has a vision.’”
Superman Returns opens to theatres on June 28th.
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