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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 6)

There's also a responsibility, Spacey feels, for reassessing what the entertainment industry -- and the American public -- values as entertainment.

"Reassessment is good. It's not about being politically correct, it's about realizing consequences to what you do. And for a long time, people have just been blowing up buildings in movies. You know, the body count in movies is grotesque -- unnecessary and grotesque.

"It's ridiculous to turn around and say that we're also not affected by violence in movies. Of course we are. Is it to blame for a particular act? No, but the fact of the matter is, how can we think that what we do doesn't affect people? Of course it does. That's what we're setting out to do, to affect people. There are," Spacey sighs, "movies that make people think and there are movies that inspire people and there are movies that are like a ride at Disneyland. A very frightening ride."

Spacey pauses for a moment and looks out over the Austin park where one more scene is set to be shot, his eyes shifting slowly from greenbelt to trees, from cloudless blue sky to the excited faces of the college-aged extras who will, perhaps, find their face immortalized for the first time on a movie screen.

Spacey absorbs the general sense of well-being that permeates the view and takes a moment to sum up his thoughts on change.

"We're not one community," he says slowly, "and we won't all think alike, but I do think that I'm hearing more and more from people -- people who I find worthy of paying attention to -- statements like 'I tried my whole life to do things that are important and I don't want to do anything trivial during the rest of my life.' That's how I'm feeling, too.

Seattle-based author Betsy Model is a former NPR/BBC correspondent who contributes to more than 30 domestic and international publications.

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