Spacey returns in Billionaire Boys Club

NEW YORK • Hollywood all but banished Kevin Spacey last autumn, following multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against him.

But next month will mark a return to the screen of sorts for the actor - in a new movie, Billionaire Boys Club.

Its distributor, Vertical Entertainment, is hoping audiences will be forgiving enough to put aside what they recently learnt about him.

The company said this week that it has decided to release the film, which follows a group of wealthy boys involved in a Ponzi scheme, because it was made 21/2 years ago, before the allegations began surfacing last October.

"We don't condone sexual harassment on any level and we fully support victims of it," it said in a statement.

"At the same time, this is neither an easy nor insensitive decision to release this film in theatres, but we believe in giving the cast, as well as hundreds of crew members who worked hard on the film, the chance to see their final product reach audiences."

In the film, Spacey stars in a supporting role as Ron Levin, a con man, alongside a cast including Ansel Elgort, Emma Roberts, Taron Egerton and Judd Nelson. He is prominent enough in the film to appear multiple times in a recent trailer.

Vertical said the movie would be released via video on demand on July 17 and in theatres on Aug 17, but did not elaborate on which streaming services or theatres would be offering the movie.

Vertical's decision is unusual in that most of Hollywood distanced itself from Spacey after actor Anthony Rapp accused him of trying to force himself on Rapp in the 1980s, when Rapp was 14 and Spacey 26. A former television anchor came forward soon after to accuse Spacey of sexually assaulting her son, and then 20 people who worked with the actor at the Old Vic theatre in London, where he was artistic director for 11 years, accused him of inappropriate behaviour.

Spacey issued an apology to Rapp in which he revealed he is gay, drawing criticism from people who felt he was using his coming out as a distraction from his behaviour.

Despite the fact that it cost Sony millions of dollars and put director Ridley Scott in a time crunch, Spacey was completely cut from his supporting role in the finished movie All The Money In The World (2017). Scott reshot Spacey's role, with Christopher Plummer taking his place.

Media Rights Capital, the studio behind House Of Cards, suspended Spacey from his lead role in the political drama during production of its sixth season.

The last time the actor released a statement was last November, when his publicist announced he would be taking time "to seek evaluation and treatment".

NYTIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 22, 2018, with the headline 'Spacey returns in Billionaire Boys Club'. Print Edition | Subscribe