- Oscar-winning actor to team up again with American Beauty director Sam Mendes for stage productions in 2012
The American actor will be directed by Sam Mendes in what will be the final production for the Bridge Project, a three-year transatlantic collaboration that has seen US and British actors tour the world in productions including The Tempest, As You Like It and The Cherry Orchard.
Spacey, the Old Vic’s artistic director, will open at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) Harvey theatre in New York in February 2012 before opening in London in May and running throughout the London 2012 Olympics.
The Bridge Project has been a collaboration between the Old Vic, BAM and Mendes’s production company, Neal Street. Mendes and Spacey worked together on the film American Beauty in 1999, for which they both won Oscars.
Mendes said: «I am absolutely delighted to be working with Kevin again for the first time since American Beauty and I am doubly thrilled that he will be leading year three of the Bridge Project. Richard III is a play I love, and a role I think Kevin is born to play.
«I’m also thrilled that the partnership between our three entities has strengthened and blossomed over the course of this venture, along with a host of invaluable international partnerships that have enabled us to extend the reach of global touring year after year.»
Spacey, who took over artistic control of the Old Vic in 2003, was similarly excited. «Sam is one of the finest directors I have had the pleasure to work with and to gain this opportunity is beyond my wildest hopes.
«I love Sam’s perspective on a role, carving and shaping the actor. With such a remarkable character before me, I have a feeling this one is going to be a memorable experience.»
Richard III, the villainous king made more vengeful and ambitious because of his hunched back, has some of Shakespeare’s best known lines – «Now is the winter of our discontent» and «A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse» – and has been played by most of the great stage actors.
Olivier is perhaps the best known Richard III and he has been followed by actors including Ian Richardson, in a 1975 production set in a psychiatric ward. Antony Sher, in his 1985 RSC version, propelled himself around stage on crutches, showing how Richard’s disability actually made him the quickest and sharpest of thinkers.
The Bridge Project, sponsored by Bank of America, is this weekend finishing its second season with The Tempest in Aviles, Spain, at the end of a world tour that has taken in Singapore, Hong Kong, Paris, Madrid, Recklinghausen, Amsterdam, London and New York. Complete casting for Richard III will be announced closer to the date.