On-Screen Creepiness of Kevin Spacey
Make no mistake about it, as an actor, Kevin Spacey is top-notch. He has shown as much in the past, winning two Academy Awards, one for Best Supporting Actor for The Usual Suspects and the other for Best Actor for American Beauty. Not only that, but Spacey has numerous other awards including a Tony and a BAFTA. There is no debating the man’s talent. There is also no debating that the man is a creep.
Kevin Spacey’s personal life is a story for a different time. The “creep” we are talking about in this instance revolves around some of the characters he has played in feature films or on television. The actor showed early in his career how well he could play “creep” when he starred as hitman Kirgo in See No Evil, Hear No Evil opposite comedic screen legends, Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder.
So, let’s take a look at some of the films where Kevin Spacey showed how creepy he could be on screen.
House of Cards (2013-2018)
For five seasons, Kevin Spacey played the amoral politician, Frank Underwood, in the hit Netflix series, House of Cards. He wore his creepiness well as Underwood, a man who would not stop at trying to obtain as much political power as he could muster. Power-hungry and a Democrat (two things that go hand-in-hand, apparently), Underwood is the epitome of a politician.
He has no problem manipulating to get what he wants, and betrayal is his middle name. House of Cards was well received, but allegations of sexual misconduct saw Spacey removed from the series’ sixth and final season.
Superman Returns (2006)
There have been a number of feature film Lex Luthors, most notably Gene Hackman in three Superman films from the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. Kevin Spacey got his chance to play Luthor and did so in Bryan Singer’s 2006 film, Superman Returns.
It was a role audiences found creepy (or disturbing) not because Luthor is a creepy character, but because of how Spacey chose to play Luthor. He was extremely over-the-top in just about every aspect, making more of a mockery of the character than offering any depth to him. It could be that is how Singer wanted Spacey to portray him, but it was extremely exaggerated.
American Beauty (1999)
Sometimes life imitates art, or vice versa, and the creep factor was turned up to a 10 in American Beauty. Kevin Spacey plays Lester Burnham, a married man who is experiencing a mid-life crisis. The creep factor begins when Lester finds himself thoroughly attracted to his teenage daughter’s best friend.
Thora Birch plays Spacey’s daughter Jane and Mena Suvari (American Pie franchise) portrays the object of Lester’s lust, Angela. As perverted as it sounds, Spacey’s performance won him the Best Actor Academy Award.
For the most part of David Fincher’s Se7en, Kevin Spacey was relegated to the background. The story follows two detectives played by Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt, who discover the murders they are investigating are being committed by a serial killer.
This killer is using the 7 Deadly Sins as his means of killing. By the time Spacey’s John Doe is revealed, the film has already hit the 90-minute mark and even then, Spacey doesn’t get much (or enough) screen time. Thankfully, though, he is very present for that shocking ending.
The Usual Suspects (1995)
Kevin Spacey won his very first Academy Award for his portrayal of Verbal Kint, a small-time con man criminal with a disability that limits his movements. The Usual Suspects tells the story of five career criminals who are looking for one last big score.
They find what they are looking for, but once they are told who they are working for, they realize they might not make it out alive. The ensemble cast includes Gabriel Byrne, Stephen Baldwin, Chazz Palminteri, Benicio del Toro, Kevin Pollack, and Giancarlo Esposito. Just like with Se7en, prepare yourself for The Usual Suspects’ shock ending.