He has won two Oscars for best actor and has been nominated for dozens of other awards in the movie industry. And this week, Kevin Spacey has been nominated by the International Press Association for a Golden Globe award in the category of Comedy or Musical for his role as Bobby Darin in the film Beyond the Sea. I sat down with Kevin Spacey and I asked him what prompted him to direct to and star in a movie about the life of singer Bobby Darin.
Kevin Spacey: "I felt that Bobby's legacy is not as strong as it should be because he died so young. And he was so diverse. He tried so many different things. He changed the way he looked. He went into so many different genres of music. He, in a sense, reinvented himself. And in these last ten years or so watching the revivals that have happened with the rat pack guys [Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., etc.] and all these kids on American Idol who go out and do their first albums, what music do they do? They do Bobby's music or Frank Sinatra's music because they want to prove they can sing."
Penelope Poulou: You took up a couple of serious challenges here. First of all, you are a little older than Bobbie Darin [was during the time you interpret his character.] And second, and more importantly, you decided to sing yourself. Was that a conscious decision that you can match Bobby Darin and highlight this talent of yours?
Kevin Spacey: "Well, let me answer the first one first. It was never a big issue to me that I was older than Bobby was when he died. I knew going into this [project] that I wasn't setting out to tell a conventional linear biopic [biographic picture] in which I was going to start playing Bobby Darin at [age] seventeen. I was going to break the rules and I knew that going in.
But I did read over the last four years, as we were prepping the movie and getting ready, a lot of commentary that the reason the movie was going to be a disaster was that I was too old to play Bobby Darin. That's why I decided to deal with it the first seven minutes of the film. I actually sort of identified the 'elephant in the room' and hoped that people would realize I know it too and maybe they would relax and just enjoy the film for what it is. It's a fantasy. It's not a strict biopic at all.
The singing I always wanted to do and is just a personal preference. It doesn't mean that we don't have great performances with actors lip syncing. We got Jamie Foxx this year doing 'Ray' [performing as Ray Charles in the movie, 'Ray']. [It's] a remarkable performance. But we've also had movies like The Buddy Holly Story where Gary Busey did all the singing in that film. So, there are no rules. You don't have to follow the rules. You do what you choose to do.
I grew up doing musicals and so I was always a singer. I just never had the chance to display that
professionally. I felt if I can get my vocal ability to a place where it was close enough to Bobby, to make people think they were hearing Bobbie, then I would both honor his talent but it would come from me. "
Penelope Poulou: You did it with the singing! I mean, you could easily be Bobbie Darin.
Kevin Spacey: The really fun thing is that it is not out of my system yet. I've actually been touring the United States on a concert tour celebrating Bobby Darin's music, although I am not trying to be Bobby in concert. But I am trying to have as good a time as I can and I hope if I am having a good time the audience will.
I love this kind of music because it is timeless. I love the idea that you can in your life if you choose to, get a chance to reinvent yourself, get a chance to test your talents, to push yourself to the edge. Because to me, that's the most interesting place to live. There is probably no doubt that I can keep showing up and doing things that come easy. But that to me would be like having the same breakfast every day.
Penelope Poulou: You dedicated the movie to your mother. And in the [movie's] storyline there is definitely the devotion of Darin to his mother. Is there a parallel there?
Kevin Spacey: Oh! My mother had a huge influence in my life and I was lucky to have a woman of
infinite taste and knowledge and intelligence who, I think, raised me well, who I was close with, who I sought out. My whole life I sought my mother out. And I'm glad she died knowing that this is the movie I was going to make. I was taking care of her because she had contracted a brain tumor and the last eleven months of her life I was writing the script, I was recording for rehearsal tracks and getting ready to do the movie. And she wanted me to do this movie more than any other. I think she would be quite pleased and proud that we finally made it happen. Because the movie is about mothers and sons and it just made sense to me that the film was for her.
Actor, director, and producer Kevin Spacey has been nominated for a Golden Globe award for his role as Bobby Darin in the new movie Beyond the Sea.