At the movies

Kevin Spacey on his new documentary ‘Now In the Wings of a World Stage’

Jesse Grant / Getty Images for Leisure Opport

In 2011 and 2012, Kevin Spacey took a break from Hollywood to travel around the world going back to his first love: the stage.

As artistic director with London’s Old Vic Theater company, Spacey also stepped in as star of Shakespeare’s epic historical tragedy Richard III. Part of the play’s international tour — traveling to 12 cities on three continents over 10 months’ time — is documented in the new movie, Now in the Wings of a World Stage.

We talked to the two-time Oscar winner ( American Beauty, Usual Suspects), 54, about the experience:

So why did you decide to undertake this huge project?

People did look at me like I fell out of a tree when I first started with all this. It’s the same thing: ‘Why don’t you do more movies?’ I’m pleased to answer that question. I wanted to find a way give to the viewer a look behind the scenes at things they usually don’t get to see. I wanted to show what is important to me and that I had dedicated my life to it. You get to meet a company of actors who are not famous, but they are the heart and soul of the living theater. You get to really know them and experience the process and what it’s like for all of us to work with each other and create this bond.

What a whirlwind. How do you keep up your stamina?

It was quite the journey; I couldn’t tell you the miles exactly. A lot. My simple answer? Tennis, tennis, tennis. Lots of running, biking, boxing, too. Look, the trick is if you’re gonna do an experience like this one, it’s not unlike an athlete. You have to be ready every night. Never lose your voice. Always be there, always be alert, always be moving in a new direction. These things are monsters but are incredible when they work.

You started out on stage in NYC. Would you recommend other actors to take same path?

Everyone is different. When I was a student at Juilliard, I played a messenger, a tavern person, a priest, a soldier [in Henry IV Part I in Shakespeare in the Park]. I had a total of five lines. One scene was with Mandy Patinkin — which was nerve-wracking — and I was doing my first play under the auspices of Joe Papp. But I was like a pig in s--t. In the theater program you can see a picture of me and [co-star] Val Kilmer.

So no part is ever too small, right?

Whenever you go to a play you should pay close attention to the guard and spear carriers. In five years they are going to be the leads. Go back to the Playbills for Broadway productions over the years. [Imitating a theater-goer], ‘Oh, look: The soldier. His name is Gregory Peck.’ ‘Hey, look who played the priest. Oh, it’s Anthony Quinn.’ It’s remarkable how many people you can name.

Follow the writer

“Now’’ screens one night only at 7 p.m. Thursday at O Cinema Miami Shores at the Miami Theater Center, 9806 NE Second Ave. Tickets at The screening will be followed by a panel discussion on theater in South Florida with GablesStage's Joe Adler, Miami Theater Center's Stephanie Ansin and moderated by Miami Herald writer Christine Dolen. The film is also downloadable at

Read more People stories from the Miami Herald

  • Celebrity birthdays on Aug 1

    Actor-director Geoffrey Holder is 84. Singer Ramblin’ Jack Elliott is 83. Blues musician Robert Cray is 61. Singer Michael Penn is 56. Singer Joe Elliott of Def Leppard is 55. Rapper Chuck D of Public Enemy is 54. Rapper Coolio is 51. Singer Adam Duritz of Counting Crows is 50. Actress Tempestt Bledsoe is 41. Singer Ashley Parker Angel (O-Town) is 33.

  • Celebrity roundup

    Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Kirstie Alley no longer speak: Is it because of Scientology?

    Que paso? Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Kirstie Alley used to be so close. They met as partners on Dancing with the Stars and stayed in touch but these days they no longer speak. “She stopped getting along with me,” Chmerkovskiy told Andy Cohen on Bravo's Watch What Happens Live. “I got a message now that I am associating with other people that she can't be associated with, I am no longer to be spoken with, and sorry, but it is what it is.” Jennifer Lopez, rumored to be dating the dancer, is besties with Leah Remini, who recently left the Church of Scientology, and that perhaps doesn’t sit well with Alley, who remains loyal to Tom Cruise’s church.

  • On the shelves

    At 88, Hollywood legend Lee Grant looks back in ‘I Said Yes to Everything’

    Actress Lee Grant came that close to washing Shampoo out of her hair when co-star Warren Beatty told her how to play the scene when she learns he has seduced her character’s daughter. The matter got resolved after she spoke to the actual director, Hal Ashby, and then to Beatty again. Not only did she win an Oscar for the role, but she and Beatty became great friends, even sharing a few passionate kisses after filming ended.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category