Field Notes

Variety - - Contents - An­drew Wal­len­stein Co-edi­tor-in-chief

Ed­i­tors weigh in on hot top­ics

Per­haps Kevin Spacey doesn’t think his lawyers have a chal­leng­ing enough case in court next week when he is ar­raigned on a charge of sex­ual as­sault. Oth­er­wise it’s dif­fi­cult to com­pre­hend why else he might have been mo­ti­vated to re­lease a Youtube video of him­self on Christ­mas Eve that eas­ily qual­i­fies as the dumb­est move a celebrity has ever made in the an­nals of pub­lic-im­age re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion.

As if there weren’t go­ing to be a big enough me­dia cir­cus sur­round­ing his le­gal woes, he seems to have de­lib­er­ately brought more neg­a­tive at­ten­tion to him­self with a cheeky mono­logue de­liv­ered in char­ac­ter as Frank Un­der­wood, his Emmy-win­ning role from the Net­flix se­ries “House of Cards.” Clev­erly draw­ing on the par­al­lels be­tween his own life and that of his fic­tional al­ter ego, Spacey dis­plays a spec­tac­u­larly tone-deaf com­min­gling of the two that seems to serve no pur­pose be­yond con­vey­ing he doesn’t un­der­stand the grav­ity of the ap­palling al­le­ga­tions he’s fac­ing.

Does he think that of­fer­ing his au­di­ence a re­minder of what a great ac­tor he was could some­how ex­cuse any mis­deeds he might have com­mit­ted?

If any­thing, the “Let Me Be Frank” video prac­ti­cally in­crim­i­nates him. In its own bizarrely un­in­ten­tional way, it ad­dresses the mys­tery that is Spacey: Can some­one with such in­tel­li­gence as a per­former, who has so much at stake given his suc­cess, still be ca­pa­ble of reck­less cru­elty? This video screams the af­fir­ma­tive to that ques­tion by re­veal­ing a man who must be wildly out of touch with re­al­ity.

Per­haps we’ve got it all wrong in pre­sum­ing Spacey’s video is even a bid to help him­self. Maybe it’s more like a wav­ing of the white flag, a sur­ren­der cloaked in hu­mor. In lieu of an apol­ogy or an ad­mis­sion of guilt, Spacey has essen­tially handed us all a ca­reer-sui­cide note. Rather than bother to ad­dress the al­le­ga­tions head on, the cu­ri­ous choice of do­ing so as Frank Un­der­wood makes the nutty ar­gu­ment: It doesn’t mat­ter what I did; just re­mem­ber the man I was be­fore all this.

But that will never hap­pen.

Does Spacey think that of­fer­ing his au­di­ence a re­minder of what a great ac­tor he was could some­how ex­cuse any mis­deeds he might have com­mit­ted?”

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