Kevin Spacey took the opportunity to praise his manager Evan Lowenstein in an emotional speech on Monday, receiving a lifetime achievement award before giving a master class at Italy’s National Museum of Cinema in Turin.
The occasion was Spacey’s first speaking engagement in more than five years, during which the Oscar-winning actor has been battling sexual misconduct allegations.
“Good evening. The first act I ever did was in my junior high school drama class. It was a little five-minute scene that we had to do, with no words,” Spacey began. “But we could sing. I was 11. year. And I decided to do a western scene, so I could play a cowboy. Well, bank robber. Bad guy, naturally.”
Spacey then said: “I’ve been so honored to be a part of the creative process with so many amazing people. I have had the opportunity to work with filmmakers, artists and technicians. Who wouldn’t consider tonight the perfect opportunity to say ‘thank you’! You’re just not respecting me. You respect them all.”
The actor expressed his gratitude to the museum for “having ‘Le Pale’ – [Italian for balls] To invite me tonight. He expressed gratitude to friends and colleagues.
“But there is one person I must point out tonight. Because when you have a best friend like Evan Lowenstein, who’s here tonight, life can be pretty special. And working through any challenge is worth the effort. Ivan gave me a lot of advice, advice, perspective – professionally, yes. But more importantly, because of our friendship.
“It’s almost impossible to tell you what he did. The guidance and wisdom he has brought into my life. He’s unlike anyone,” Spacey said. “Evan has not only stood by me. He’s stood in front of me when I needed to lead and he stood behind me when I needed to push… He’s an amazing man and we’ve faced every obstacle. He had the ability to take what happened and somehow stand up and keep going. Go ahead and that gave me the strength to somehow stand up and follow him. I’m truly blessed to have you as my brother. The brother I never had, so thank you.”
He ended the speech by thanking the museum “for giving me a night I’ll never forget.”
Spacey visited the museum for the first time last year when he returned to acting, playing a police detective in the Franco Nero-directed low-budget indie drama “Luomo che dizegno dio” (“The Man Who Drew God”).
During the hour-long sold-out masterclass, Spacey spoke with museum director Domenico Di Gaetano about his career milestones on screen and stage, filmmaking and storytelling, his best-known performances and characters, and the creation of famous scenes in film. including “The Usual Suspects,” “LA Confidential,” “Seven,” and the Netflix TV series “House of Cards.”
Earlier in the day, Spacey met with Italian journalists but declined to speak to the international press.
Spacey will stand trial in London in June on charges of a dozen sex offenses between 2001 and 2013, where he worked as artistic director of the city’s Old Vic theatre. He pleaded not guilty.
In October, a New York jury sided with Spacey in a $40 million civil lawsuit, finding that the actor did not molest actor Anthony Rapp as a teenager and was not liable for battery.