TURIN, Italy (AP) — In his first speaking appearance since #MeToo-era allegations derailed his career, actor Kevin Spacey used a colorful Italian term Monday to thank the National Museum of Cinema in the northern city of Turin. for having the courage to invite him. .
Spacey received a lifetime achievement award from the museum, discussed key roles during a master class and then introduced the 1999 film “American Beauty,” for which he won his second Oscar as an actor, to a sell-out crowd.
“I am truly blessed, grateful and honored. And my heart is so full tonight to the National Museum of Cinema for having the le palle to invite me tonight,” Spacey said, using the Italian word for a male body part with boldness, to applause from the audience. of the master class.
“By presenting this award, they are making a strong case for artistic achievement and for that they should be applauded,” Spacey said.
Past winners of the Stella della Mole award include actresses Isabella Rossellini and Monica Bellucci, and director Dario Argento.
The sold-out events were billed as Spacey’s first speaking engagements in five years. After multiple sexual assault allegations surfaced, the actor lost his starring role in the Netflix series “House of Cards” and saw other opportunities dry up.
Spacey did not directly address the allegations while accepting the award or during the hour-long class. But while he pointed to the loyalty of many fans, he said “the bond he shares with them will not be easily broken by unrestrained and ever-changing mobocratic ties.”
He choked when he thanked his manager Evan Lowenstein for his support, calling him “the brother I never had.”
Spacey said he was also “hugely grateful” to Italian director Frank Nero, who cast him in a role in “The Man Who Drew God,” which was filmed in Turin. Spacey will be present when the film is previewed later this week in Rome.
After the masterclass, fans lined up for selfies and autographed DVDs.
“I actually missed him, and I think he had a great role in the movies. He made Netflix what it is today,” said Chiara Ottolini, referring to the huge success of “House of Cards.” “I’m so happy to see that he’s coming back, because we have to separate the man from the artist.”
Mery Bicci traveled from Milan to see Spacey, whom she considers one of the best actors in history. She said that she would have traveled even further.
“When the scandal happened, I went into mourning because I knew very well that he was going to be marginalized immediately,” he said.
Spacey is scheduled to go on trial in London in June on a dozen charges alleging he sexually assaulted four men between 2001 and 2013, including while he was artistic director at the city’s Old Vic theatre. He has pleaded not guilty.
In October, a federal jury in a New York civil case found that Spacey, 63, did not sexually assault actor Anthony Rapp when they were both relatively unknown Broadway performers in 1986 and Rapp was 14 years old. The jury deliberated a little over an hour before deciding that Rapp, now 50, had failed to prove his allegations.
Spacey previously faced allegations in Massachusetts that he groped a man at a bar. Prosecutors later dropped the charges.
In August, a Los Angeles judge approved an arbitrator’s decision ordering Spacey to pay $30.9 million to the “House of Cards” creators for violating their contract by sexually harassing team members.
Elena Cortini, a college design student who was watching “American Beauty” for the second time, said she didn’t know what to make of the allegations, preferring to focus on the craft of the 1999 film.
“If he’s putting his life back together like he said, good for him,” she said.