Kevin Spacey’s new movie bombed over the weekend, taking in a measly $425. While Spacey has earned his position, you can’t help but feel for those who starred alongside him.
There’s a strange spectrum of awkwardness that encompasses this headline. At the most basic level, Kevin Spacey’s latest venture epically bombing is a decent measure of how far he’s slipped, and a fair measurement of how far we’ve come with #MeToo.
The production itself was completed before his allegations were made public, so the timing of the release poses more questions. The first place your mind travels to is that release obviously aimed as a lightning rod, close enough to the allegations, but far enough away from them, with Spacey playing a figure of authority drunk on his own power, an island upon himself. Through the prism of #MeToo, the hairs prickle the skin, even down to the title, ‘Billionaire Boys Club’, which you can easily attach to the cabal of Weinstein’s Hollywood that kept the culture of abuse alive, and quiet.
It seems a knowing look to the camera, as the trailer begins with the line “what’s the difference between a bad guy, and a good guy that does bad things?/where’s the line between a white lie and an outright evil?”
I mean, to be brutally honest, Spacey is barely in the trailer, but his fingerprints are all over it. We place them on it. We’re looking for meaning, or new avenues in which to ferry our complaint. Now, this could be seen as a classic Hollywood move of cashing in on public angst (of which there are many many examples), or it could be us tarring the entirety of the production with the Spacey brush. Maybe both.
However, in the wake of collective understanding, it becomes impossible not to shape the given narrative with our assumptions. It’s so malleable, you can fashion it into a knife and bury it into his flank. Should Kevin Spacey stop making movies, probably. Does this movie look rubbish, yes. But not $425 dollars on opening weekend rubbish. Spacey did what he did, and the Producers were guilty too, either attempting to cash in on that, or wanted to see some return on his toxic investment. But this movie still exists, and it does with everyone who sailed on it.
The people I feel sorry for in this instance are his more passive victims, those who made the movie with him with the best of intentions, or those who have worked for and with him, those now brushed by this reverse King Midas, where everything he now touches turns to shit. Kevin has his money and his status, and he’s earned both. I just hope the label of “I worked on a Kevin Spacey movie” is one that comes off in the wash.