Don’t call it a comeback. No, seriously—don’t.
Former House of Cards actor Kevin Spacey is set make his first big screen appearance since Star Trek: Discovery star Anthony Rapp and over a dozen other men accused him of sexual misconduct over the course of his three-decade film career. Spacey will play gay con man Ron Levin in Billionaire Boys’ Club, which will hit theaters on July 19.
Billionaire Boys’ Club reteams Spacey with Baby Driver co-star Ansel Elgort. Elgort and Taron Egerton (Kingsman: The Secret Service) play Joe Hunt and Dean Kanry, wealthy Harvard students involved in a Ponzi scheme in the 1980s. Hunt allegedly murdered Levin after he conned the “BBC” out of $4 million, but reports suggest the notorious hustler has been spotted numerous times since his supposed death.
A film of the same name was previously aired on television in the 1980s, with Judd Nelson (The Breakfast Club) and Ron Silver (Timecop) portraying Hunt and Levin.
Although the remake wrapped production two years ago, a trailer for the film dropped this week. The 2018 edition also stars Rosanna Arquette (Desperately Seeking Susan), Cary Elwes (The Princess Bride), Billie Lourd (American Horror Story), Emma Roberts (Scream Queens), and Suki Waterhouse (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies).
The trailer, which gives Spacey second billing behind Elgort, refers to the actor as “Oscar-winner Kevin Spacey.”
The 58-year-old has been absent from multiplexes and TV screens since October 2017, after Rapp claimed in an interview with BuzzFeed that Spacey made a pass at him when he was just 14 years old. At a Broadway party in 1986, Rapp alleged that the actor, then 26, cornered him in a bedroom and laid on top of him until the teenager was able to squirm away.
“The older I get, and the more I know, I feel very fortunate that something worse didn’t happen,” Rapp said. “And at the same time, the older I get, the more I can’t believe it. I could never imagine [that] anyone else I know would do something like that to a 14-year-old boy.”
Spacey initially denied recalling the encounter, instead using the allegations to come out as gay.
“If I did behave then as he describes, I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior,” he claimed. “This story has encouraged me to address other things about my life. I know that there are other stories out there about me and that some have been fueled by the fact that I have been so protective of my privacy.”
“I now choose to live as a gay man,” Spacey added.
Despite his attempt to pivot away from the sexual misconduct claims, several other accusers came forward after Rapp first spoke up. These men included several cast and crew members on House of Cards, retired film director Tony Montana, and Harry Dreyfuss, the son of actor Richard Dreyfuss. Journalist Heather Unruh claimed Spacey sexually assaulted her son.
The Los Angeles Police Department is still reportedly weighing prosecution for Spacey on an L.A.-area assault allegation, while London’s Metropolitan Police investigated three similar charges from his tenure as artistic director of the Old Vic theater.
Following these numerous and consistent claims of sexual misconduct, Spacey has been removed from other projects he’s been involved with. The upcoming sixth season of House of Cards will focus on Claire Underwood (Robin Wright), who assumed the presidency at the end of the Netflix drama’s previous installment. It’s unclear if Spacey’s character, Frank Underwood, will be killed off.
Ridley Scott’s All the Money in the World famously underwent extensive reshoots to replace Spacey, who played billionaire John Paul Getty, with Christopher Plummer.
Billionaire Boys’ Club director James Cox (Wonderland) has yet to state publicly why he chose to keep Spacey in the film, while co-stars Egerton, Elgort, and Roberts have not commented on negative reaction to the trailer at the time of publication.
But at least one castmate has defended Spacey’s involvement in the film. Richard DuPont—one of the DuPont twins in Andy Warhol’s orbit during the Factory-era 1960s—appears in a cameo as a drug dealer. He told Page Six that the actor is “almost unrecognizable in a beard and glasses.”
“People have such short memories,” DuPont said.
Spacey is just one of several high-profile men implicated in sexual assault scandals during the #MeToo movement who are hoping to bank on the public’s short attention span. Former PBS host Charlie Rose is reportedly planning a show where he would interview other famous men accused of misconduct over the past year, including former Today Show anchor Matt Lauer and comedian Louis C.K.
Meanwhile, Lauer is allegedly “testing the waters for a public comeback” of his own.