Kevin Spacey, the two-time Oscar winner who has largely avoided the public eye since his career imploded in the early days of the #MeToo era, is making moves to venture back into the public space.
The actor has booked his first comic book convention appearance, set for Feb. 16-18 at Mad Monster, the con held in Concord, North Carolina. Organizers announced Wednesday that he will be among the guests signing autographs and posing for photos. He is also in business with the company Everest Autographs, which is arranging for autograph purchases for those not attending the event in person.
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Spacey won Oscars for The Usual Suspects (1995), the cult crime drama that resonates with corners of the comic con crowd, and for American Beauty (1999). He played Lex Luthor in Superman Returns (2006) and helped power Netflix’s push into prestige programming with House of Cards. His few public-facing moves in recent years have been to reprise House of Cards’ Frank Underwood in a series of holiday videos, including one featuring ousted Fox News host Tucker Carlson last month.
Save for those videos, Spacey has mostly avoided public appearances following accusations of sexual misconduct involving young men in late 2017. Netflix fired him from House of Cards in the wake of the claims, while filmmaker Ridley Scott reshot part of the feature All the Money in the World to excise him from the movie, replacing him with Christopher Plummer.
In addition to the career fallout, Spacey faced myriad legal troubles as well. In July, he was acquitted of sexual assault charges in the U.K. Those in his orbit say the actor feels vindicated by the verdict, while those in Hollywood say it is extremely unlikely he will ever work in the town again. The actor has spent the past few years taking roles in the low-budget indie world, where some producers have been happy to have him despite the controversy he brings.
He now joins the comic convention world, which over the past decade has been a place where A-listers like the cast of the Avengers movies can make six figures over a weekend and bit players on old comic book shows can eke out a living. It has also been the stomping grounds for a number of controversial figures. Edward Furlong, who as a child starred as John Connor in T2: Judgment Day, faced domestic violence charges in the 2010s and has been a regular at fan conventions around the country, most recently appearing earlier this month at Fan Expo in New Orleans, Louisiana.
The Dukes of Hazzard star John Schneider, who came under scrutiny from the Secret Service last month for posting that President Biden “should be publicly hung,” will at Mad Monster along with Spacey. Alec Baldwin, who was indicted last week on involuntary manslaughter charges related to the accidental death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on his indie Western Rust, appears Feb. 9-10 at a convention in Atlanta, only his second con appearance ever. Austin St. John, another con regular and star of the ‘90s Power Rangers TV show, is under federal indictment for alleged PPP loan fraud.
Generally, these types of bookings go unremarked upon, though there is always the risk of public backlash. When Rhode Island Comic Con booked Ferris Bueller’s Day Off actor Jeffrey Jones to appear at the November 2023 convention, they were forced to pull him from the lineup after a public outcry. (The actor pled no contest in 2003 for paying a 14-year-old boy to pose for explicit photos.)
“Amongst the many things that I’ve learned the past handful of years is how much my fans care about me,” said Spacey in a statement. “I know I can’t thank each one of them individually, but this is a great step towards doing just that.”
Added the organizers of Mad Monster, the first con to book Spacey: “Kevin Spacey is one of the most sought after actors in the celebrity appearance space. We couldn’t be more excited to be the first to bring him to a show.”
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