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American Paradox

Kevin Spacey continues to seek offbeat roles that test the limits of his talent.
Betsy Model
From the Print Edition:
Kevin Spacey, Jan/Feb 02

(continued from page 5)

"You know, he was short and bald when he was home, but when he walked out that door, he was Bobby Darin."

If moviegoers had any question about Spacey's ability to croon 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."

For Spacey, who makes his home in New York with canine housemates Legacy and Mini, the changes he sees in the city of New York -- and the changes he sees in the entertainment industry -- are far more dramatic than a public singing debut for a benefit performance.

"The ripples of what has happened in New York and what has happened in our world are going to [cause] monumental change -- some tangible and some which we won't even recognize," says Spacey. "I think that after twenty or so years of living in a society that is largely selfish and largely fed by cynicism and glibness, what has happened is finally making people stop and reconsider and think about consequences. There are consequences to what we say, to what we do, about how we treat each other.

"And," he pauses, "sometimes it's only these kind of events that can shake a society up."

Including the entertainment industry?

"I think you just have to go back to the history of the entertainment industry to see that the Hollywood community has always rallied in times of crisis. You can always question individual motives, [but] the fact of the matter is, just look at what Bob Hope did for all those years. It doesn't surprise me that the community has rallied. What else can we do? It's a responsibility."

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