Saturday, December 16, 2017
Features and More

Kevin Spacey shares his art at IIFA event

TAMPA — Two-time Academy Award winner Kevin Spacey had a ready, rowdy answer Saturday when asked how he feels about Hollywood and Bollywood creatively edging together.

"Well, it's about (expletive) time," he said, prodding whoops and applause from nearly 300 VIPs during a centerpiece event of the International Indian Film Academy awards weekend.

"The fact that you're in Tampa just means you're getting closer to the West Coast."

Billed as an acting "master class," the 80-minute session was more of a casual conversation with Spacey and actor Priyanka Chopra, subbing for Vidya Balan who didn't attend the IIFA weekend after plugging this event during a visit in March.

Arriving on a festooned stage in a Hilton hotel ballroom, the stars ignored yells from a security guard and a gatecrasher. A laudatory montage of clips from Spacey's career soon drowned them out.

"That was very exciting," Spacey said when the sizzle reel's bombast ended. "If this is how you produce the awards, that's a good thing." He planned to attend IIFA's gala at Raymond James Stadium Saturday night.

Spacey, 54, was loose yet conscious of a cultural gap; for example, making sure everyone knew Jack Lemmon before launching an anecdote. An accomplished impressionist, Spacey tossed in a little Bill Clinton here, Al Pacino there, and Lemmon congratulating him on a second Oscar, with a vulgarity making observers wince and Spacey sheepish.

Much of the conversation centered around Spacey's Web television series House of Cards, apparently a hit in India despite Netflix being unavailable there. "You're all stealing it," he mock-chided, sly as the Washington D.C., shyster he plays on the show.

Some of Spacey's most trenchant comments about his craft were inspired by differences between acting in movies, on stage or television.

"That camera doesn't know it's a TV camera, doesn't know it's a film camera, it's just a camera," he said. "You can do good work, great work in front of it. It's about what you do, how you prepare to get there.

"I've had a little problem over many years, (hearing) there's something called film acting and something called theater acting. I actually think there's just acting and it's either good or it's bad.

"There's a lot of people who make a whole lot of money teaching film acting, and most of them are full of (expletive) … The way you learn is to actually look at yourself on film. It takes a while to learn what you can do, and what's required of you."

Spacey used the occasion to plug a new documentary titled Now, focused on a 10-month world tour of Richard III, staged with the cooperation of London's Old Vic theater where Spacey has been artistic director since 2003. While he gladly shared familiar stories about Oscar-winning movie roles like Verbal Kint in The Usual Suspects and Lester Burnham in American Beauty, it was clear that performing before live audiences keeps his thespian heart beating.

"Theater is the actor's medium," Spacey said. "Film is the director's medium, and the editor's medium. I don't think it's an actor's medium at all. And no matter how good I might be in a movie, it will never get better. Whereas in the theater, I can be better tomorrow than I was tonight.

"It's no different than if you went out and played eight nights of tennis. Yes, it's the same game. Yes, it's the same rules. But it's a different game every time you're on that court."

Steve Persall can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8365. Follow him on Twitter @StevePersall.

Comments
Festivus 2017: Send us your best grievances

Festivus 2017: Send us your best grievances

Here's your chance. Tell us what annoyed you in 2017, and we'll share it with our readers.
Updated: 7 hours ago
Fueled by indulgence and machismo, restaurants are a hotbed for sexual harassment

Fueled by indulgence and machismo, restaurants are a hotbed for sexual harassment

When Brenda Terry was 16 and living in St. Louis, she was a hostess and food runner at a sports bar where female employees wore cute, little cheerleading skirts. One night, she said, a patron grabbed her crotch. She ran to her management team and the...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Self-serve beer bar opens Saturday in downtown St. Pete

Self-serve beer bar opens Saturday in downtown St. Pete

Pour Taproom, a craft beer bar with 85 taps that customers pour their own brew from, will open at noon on Saturday, Dec. 16. The nearly 2,300-square-foot bar at 225 Second Ave. N has undergone extensive renovations, including a St. Petersburg-themed...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to marry May 19

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to marry May 19

LONDON — Kensington Palace says the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will be held on May 19. The palace announced the date Friday and confirmed the ceremony will take place in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. The couple announced their...
Published: 12/15/17
Inside Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s first Christmas without leader Paul O’Neill

Inside Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s first Christmas without leader Paul O’Neill

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — A half hour to curtain, Al Pitrelli unwinds on a couch in his spartan dressing quarters, fresh off a loading-dock Marlboro. He’s deep inside an arena, about to play the 29th show in the 18th city of the Trans-Siberian ...
Published: 12/15/17
Tavis Smiley theatrical show canceled at Straz Center in wake of sexual misconduct allegations

Tavis Smiley theatrical show canceled at Straz Center in wake of sexual misconduct allegations

The theatrical tour about the death of Martin Luther King Jr. that Tavis Smiley was slated to bring to Tampa’s David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts has been canceled in the wake sexual misconduct allegations against the broadcaster.Death...
Published: 12/14/17
Updated: 12/15/17
This week's top holiday events: Parades, Christmas lights, theme parks and more

This week's top holiday events: Parades, Christmas lights, theme parks and more

PARADES Homosassa Christmas Boat Parade Parade begins at Marker 75 by Bird Island. Free. Homosassa Springs Marina, 10806 W Halls River Road, Homosassa. 6 p.m. Dec. 16.   Indian Rocks Beach Boat Parade It begins at the Holiday Inn Harbourside and...
Published: 12/14/17
Bar review: Spanish flair at Bulla Gastrobar in South Tampa

Bar review: Spanish flair at Bulla Gastrobar in South Tampa

Take a second and try to think of a few of the world’s biggest drinking cultures. Ireland is a freebie, but then you’ll probably move onto Germany, Russia and possibly even South Korea (yep, South Korea goes hard).How about Spain? No, I’m not just ta...
Published: 12/14/17
From Crystal River to Brooksville, branch out to shop on these unexpected main streets

From Crystal River to Brooksville, branch out to shop on these unexpected main streets

You don’t have to stare at a greeting card to picture a bustling old main street lined with decorated shops and lampposts. Historic small-town shopping districts are easy to find, and more charming than Walmart. Beyond the downtowns of St. Pet...
Published: 12/14/17
New locations for Tampa’s New Year’s Eve fireworks, plus a Mario Lopez appearance

New locations for Tampa’s New Year’s Eve fireworks, plus a Mario Lopez appearance

New Year’s Eve fireworks in downtown Tampa will be a little different this year, as free, public viewing moves from Channelside Bay Plaza to Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park behind Amalie Arena due to ongoing construction. Meanwhile, the Pied Pipe...
Published: 12/14/17