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Charlie Rose - Kevin Spacey (01/04/12) January 5, 2012

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Kevin Spacey on his upcoming role in Shakespeare's "Richard III" at the Brooklyn Academy of Musicwww.CharlieRose.com


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If I hadn't have the experience of going to the old Vic, if I hadn’t had the opportunity to work with the directors that I’ve worked with since I started, if I hadn’t been there now for 9 years and done the work I’ve done, I wouldn’t have been ready to do Richard.

I mean Richard is, as you well know, the second-longest role in Shakespeare’s cannon after Hamlet. And I think partly what it does is it, it actually exposes a young playwright in Shakespeare – he was 28 years old when he wrote it. And he had not yet learned the lesson he later learned and applied to his later plays, which is to give the leading actor breaks. And so out of 26 scenes, Richard is in 23 of them. And so when we started – when Sam and I began the experience back in May in London – it wasn’t until really that first week that we started previews that I, I started to get a sense of what the ask was – what I was actually asking. Because until you start to put a play together it’s just sort of moving parts; you know you’re working on individual scenes and then you put it all together. And I know that that first week there were several members of the company that actually thought I was going to have a heart attack because it - the only thing I can liken it to is that it's probably what it feels like to ride a tornado. It is a monstrous, epic, huge piece of work and yet it has done the opposite of what I expected it to do – I thought it was going to kill me, but it’s actually energized me; it’s been the most extraordinary –

I mean look, I've been here a lot – I’ve sat at this table and talked about a lot of experiences I’ve had; nothing that I’ve ever done in the theatre has compared to what this experience has been like. Both in terms of the challenge of it – how terrified I was to do it when we started, the joy of doing it and I suppose for me the most important aspect is – this is exactly what I think a company of actors should be.

Courtesy of The Charlie Rose Show

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