December 14th, 2010
01:50 PM ET
For actor Kevin Spacey, the joy of being nominated for a Golden Globe award for his starring role in “Casino Jack” on Tuesday was tempered by the recent loss of the film’s director, George Hickenlooper.
“[The nomination] is tinged with the melancholy I feel about George passing a month ago and that he’s not here to enjoy it,” Spacey told CNN. “The movie opens Friday; he’s the man who directed me to this performance and there’s no doubt in my mind that it’s a tribute to George. If people want to go out to see the movie because of that I know that would have made George happier than anything.”
Hickenlooper had been promoting the film when he died in Denver on October 30. Spacey said he and the director shared a wonderful collaboration on the movie, which tells the tale of real life Washington, D.C. lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
“From the first day that we met, [George] and I discovered that we had a mutual interest in politics, both admiration for it and frustration with it,” Spacey said. “This was a story that seemed to offer an opportunity to play a really larger than life character who really did all of these things, and find a way to humanize him so he would be interesting to play and interesting for audiences to watch.”
Abramoff, who was known as a flamboyant and freewheeling lobbyist, was eventually sentenced to almost six years in prison for fraud. Spacey said he and Hickenlooper met with Abramoff, who Spacey said he was determined not to pre-judge.
“I made a decision not to read about [Abramoff] or do any kind of serious research until I had a chance to meet him,” the actor said. “I just met the man and tried to understand his emotional terrain, how he made certain decisions and how he felt about the whole process, and then I knew I would be able to go out and source a lot of other people and I did.”
The result was the performance that landed Spacey a Golden Globes nomination for best performance by an actor in a motion picture, comedy or musical. The actor lives in London, where he is the artistic director of the Old Vic Theatre and where he'll be reunited with “American Beauty” director Sam Mendes for a production of “Richard III" next year.
Known as an “actor’s actor,” Spacey was equally delighted with the six nominations “The Social Network” received, including best film.
“To me it’s great that Sony Picture made that film and it’s really a movie about people in a room talking, as [screenplay writer] Aaron Sorkin has often said,” Spacey mused.
Spacey, who is no stranger to awards seasons, still glories in the luck that happens “when the elements come together to create a film worth watching.”
“I look at it this way, there are a lot of really good films, a lot of great performances and really wonderful directors,” he said. “That’s encouraging for the film industry.”
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