Dame Judi Dench has spoken out in support of her “good friend” Kevin Spacey, questioning the decision to “cut him out” of films and TV shows.
Spacey was accused by Anthony Rapp of making a sexual advance towards him when he was underage. Further allegations of sexual harassment and assault followed, and Netflix took the decision to fire him from House of Cards and shelve his film Gore. His scenes in Ridley Scott’s All the Money in the World were re-shot with Christian Plummer in the role of J Paul Getty.
At a press conference ahead of her ceremony to receive the prestigious Donostia Award, Dame Judi told reporters: “I can’t approve, in any way, of the fact that — whatever he has done — that you then start to cut him out of the films.
“Are we to do what happened when he was replaced with Christopher Plummer? Are we to do that throughout history? Are we to go back throughout history and anyone who has misbehaved in any way, or who has broken the law, or who has committed some kind of offence, are they always going to be cut out? Are we going to extrude them from our history? I don’t know….”
According to Variety, she continued: “I don’t know about the conditions of it, but nevertheless he is, and was, a most wonderful actor. I can’t imagine what he is doing now.” After a pause, she added: “And a good friend.”
Kevin Spacey in House of Cards (Netflix)
The subject of Kevin Spacey first came up when Dame Judi referred to their work together on The Shipping News (2001).
Asked if there were any particularly memorable moments in her career that she looked back on fondly, she recalled her first project after her husband Michael’s death early that year.
“I went to do The Shipping News with Kevin Spacey, and Kevin was an inestimable comfort and never mentioned he knew I was in a bad way,” she said. “He cheered me up and kept me going.”
But the actress also made clear her support for the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, which she called “an extraordinary moment of change, a sea change at the moment.”
She added: “And there are many more parts for women, which is very good indeed, and long may that go on.”
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