Kevin Spacey of ‘House of Cards’ Honored at New York Museum
After playing Southern Democrat Frank Underwood for two seasons on House of Cards, Kevin Spacey addressed the realism of the Netflix series using his own true-to-life impression of Bill Clinton.
“As Bill would say: 99 percent of what they do in House of Cards is accurate, and the 1 percent that’s not is you could never get an education bill to pass that fast.”
The actor, director and producer spoke on stage at 583 Park Avenue in Manhattan on Wednesday night, accepting an honor from the Museum of the Moving Image.
The museum in Astoria, Queens, teaches the process behind filmmaking, television and digital media, with galleries including an arcade of early video games, a sound booth where visitors can record dialogue and animation labs. Displays show cameras and TV sets through the ages as well as artifacts like the Linda Blair spinning-head dummy used in The Exorcist. A new gallery is in the works to showcase the recently acquired collection from Muppets maker Jim Henson’s family.
Movie stars and directors frequently appear in the theater. On April 30, David Chase will speak about the two episodes of The Sopranos he directed, said the museum’s executive director, Carl Goodman.
“It’s the one museum that my kids die to go to,” said Michael Lazerow, chief marketing officer of Salesforce.com’s “social listening” platform. He’s the father of three children, aged 12, 10 and 6. “It’s interactive, they touch, they feel, they do, they create. In a world where kids all want to be a game developer or film producer, this is the purest expression of that.”
Spacey credited his mother for nurturing his creativity.
“I had a mother who was artistic, who believed in the arts, who believed in exposing her children to the arts; who took me to the theater, music; who introduced me to Bobby Darin; who introduced me to great books, great writing and great storytelling,” Spacey said. “I lost my mother 11 years ago, but there’s not a day that she’s not hovering somewhere, egging me on.”
He also spoke of how the late actor Jack Lemmon had shaped him, from telling him at age 13 to go to New York and “study acting because you were meant to do this for a living,” to starring with him in Long Day’s Journey Into Night and Glengarry Glen Ross.
“Jack had this philosophy: if you’ve done well in the business you want to do well in, then it is your obligation to spend a good portion of your time sending the elevator back down,” Spacey said. “If we all keep a little bit of a Lemmon clause in our hearts, we’re going to be OK.”
The museum’s chief curator, David Schwartz, selected nine scenes from Spacey’s film career to screen during the gala.
“I haven’t seen most of those clips since the screenings of those movies when they first came out,” Spacey said.
In the one from Margin Call, Spacey advises against selling things that have no value. In The Negotiator, he plays a police officer opposite hostage-taker Samuel Jackson.
Jackson, Penn Badgley (who appeared in Margin Call), Denis Leary (from Recount), and Kate Bosworth, who played Sandra Dee in Beyond the Sea, were all on hand to present clips. So were House of Cards executive producer Dana Brunetti, who said the next season begins filming in June.
and the show’s creator and co-writer, Beau Willimon.
Chazz Palminteri, Spacey’s on-screen nemesis in “The Usual Suspects,” presented a clip from the film, noting people still come up to him on the street asking who Keyser Soze is.
Spacey thanked the museum’s long-serving chairman, Herbert Schlosser, the 88-year-old former head of NBC. Schlosser was recently joined by a co-chairman, Ivan Lustig, managing director at middle-market private equity firm MTN Capital Partners LLC.
Spacey also acknowledged the presence of Manny Azenberg, who produced the actor’s turn on stage in 1986’s “Long Day’s Journey Into Night.”
“Manny tonight goes, ‘Kevin, I have a play for you,’ “ Spacey said, adding he hoped Manny never stops pitching him.
Spacey said during cocktail hour that he’d prepped for the evening with three hours of tennis, which he described as his way to relax. Unlike Frank Underwood, he doesn’t play video games.