Kevin Spacey Casting In New Action Thriller Defended By Director

By Brian Myers | Published

  • The director of Kevin Spacey’s comeback film defends his decision to cast the controversial Hollywood star.
  • Director Michael Zaiko Hall thinks Kevin Spacey was the perfect choice for the lead in Peter Five Eight.
  • Respecting all sides, Hall believes in the justice system, which found Spacey not guilty of his recent sexual assault charges.
  • Peter Five Eight stars Kevin Spacey as an assassin and releases on March 22.

Director Michael Zaiko Hall has come out ahead of what he believes will be some negativity toward his latest film project, Peter Five Eight. The studio’s decision to cast Kevin Spacey in the lead role is something that Hall acknowledges will spark some controversy, but he defended the decision and the disgraced actor in a recent interview. Hall’s belief in the criminal justice system helped form his view that a recently exonerated Spacey shouldn’t be overlooked for a part he is perfect for.

“Naturally there were discussions amongst the producers about [casting Spacey]. It’s a sensitive topic, and we’re respectful to all sides. As flawed as it may be at times, I do believe in the criminal justice system.”

Michael Zaiko Hall

Watch the trailer for Peter Five Eight below.

The exoneration Hall referenced was one that stems from Kevin Spacey’s criminal trial in the Southwark Crown Court in London in the summer of 2023. On July 26, the actor was cleared on all nine criminal charges that were brought to the court by four different men. The charges included seven counts of sexual assault that Spacey was accused of committing between 2001 and 2013.

Kevin Spacey spoke about the trial, in which he not only professed his innocence but also proclaimed a comeback. The House of Cards star told the media outlet that if he’s acquitted that there will be people set to cast him almost immediately. The film Peter Five Eight is the first test of Spacey’s prediction, but director Hall didn’t appear to be worried about the film not succeeding to his star’s controversial past.

“There will be voices online that say bad things about the movie and those involved, because they worked with Kevin,” Hall stated, before adding that he feels that the people in this camp represent a small group of people. Hall continued his defense of casting Kevin Spacey by also proclaiming that he believed that art should be governed by how it inspires, and not be ruled by negativity.

Kevin Spacey in Peter Five Eight

“This is where innuendo and allegations are put under the microscope and looked at intensely from all angles. The allegations against him [Spacey] were put to the test and he was exonerated.”

Michael Zaiko Hall

Hall also claimed that Kevin Spacey was perfect for the part. The film’s styling, which Hall says is reminiscent of a “1940s style pulp-melodrama,” is one that resonates strongly with the L.A. Confidential actor, as his experience in neo-noir films and his vast understanding of what makes these films tick give him the upper hand on “reference points and stylistic cues” that most actors do not possess.

The acquittal last summer wasn’t the first time Kevin Spacey was cleared of wrongdoing based on sexual assault accusations. In 2017, actor Anthony Rapp came forward, accusing Spacey of sexually assaulting him when he was 14. Rapp was seeking $40 million in damages against Spacey from an incident that Rapp alleged occurred in 1986.

“There will be voices online that say bad things about the movie and those involved, because they worked with Kevin. I do feel that they are a relatively small group. I don’t think artistic endeavors should be governed by negativity. They should be governed by inspiration.”

Michael Zaiko Hall

A jury voted in favor of Kevin Spacey. But the damage had already been done to Spacey’s career. He was fired from the hit Netflix series House of Cards shortly after Rapp’s accusal and director Ridley Scott removed all traces of Spacey from All the Money in the World, reshooting all of Spacey’s scenes from the completed project amid all the controversy.

Peter Five Eight is slated for release on March 22. The film’s plot follows a hitman (played by Kevin Spacey) whose current job is to eliminate a successful real estate agent in a quiet mountain town. Co-starring alongside Spacey is Rebecca De Mornay, Jet Jandreau, and Jake Weber.