One could pretty easily make the case that Hollywood has continued to function just fine since former A-list actor Kevin Spacey more or less dropped off the map following multiple allegations of sexual harassment and assault in 2017, which infamously led to the actor’s replacement with Chris Plummer in the likes of All the Money in the World. Spacey was understandably condemned by the entertainment world at the time, and though none of the allegations ever led to criminal convictions, the actor’s subsequent announcement of his gay sexual orientation just angered more industry observers and LGBTQ rights activists, who accused him of trying to use his coming out announcement to deflect from other controversies and legal jeopardy. In particular, the phrase “I choose now to live as a gay man” was roundly mocked, and Spacey has subsequently all but disappeared from the world of film.
Now, though, it seems the 62-year-old actor thinks that enough time has passed for him to reasonably be able to pull off a comeback. He’s appearing in several films that are being exhibited at various festivals in the near future, looking for buyers, including historical drama 1242 – Gateway To The West, and director Franco Nero’s The Man Who Drew God. The first to actually reveal footage, though, is action thriller Peter Five Eight, to which we can only say: Whoa. This trailer doesn’t just look “bad” in some subjective sense, as a result of Spacey’s controversial participation. No, this looks hilariously amateurish, akin to the sort of “geezer teaser” movies put out in the last decade by the likes of Bruce Willis and Steven Seagal. But with those films, the “A-list” talent is typically only appearing for a few scenes—Spacey, on the other hand, is the unquestioned star of Peter Five Eight, and he looks and sounds as if he’s completely forgotten how to perform his craft in the years since 2017.
Hell, even the official synopsis sounds like it was written in another language and then crudely transcribed into English:
Sam, (Jet Jandreau) a seemingly poised and glamorous real estate agent in a small mountain community is revealed to be an unhinged and troubled alcoholic with a dark secret, when a charismatic man named Peter (Kevin Spacey) shows up in town one day. As she tries to keep her life from unravelling, an older co-worker named Brenda (Rebecca De Mornay) is targeted by Peter for information at the behest of his powerful and shadowy boss, Mr. Lock. Nothing will ever be the same again in this little town.
The trailer, meanwhile, looks just as banal and uninspired as that description above might suggest. There are shots here—the one of Spacey sitting “menacingly” in a woman’s kitchen in a trench coat and black fedora—that are unintentionally funny, so bereft of the atmosphere they’re supposed to evoke that they become some kind of avant-garde comedy. Meanwhile, the idea of this 62-year-old as a suave ladykiller, decked out in a terrible wig designed to make him look at least 15 years younger, is equally difficult to accept. Everything here feels distinctly amateurish, even when you can’t put your finger on exactly what is wrong.
Peter Five Eight is headed to the Cannes film market, where it will be fascinating to see who dares to pick it up. In the meantime, you can enjoy the embarrassing trailer below, and mull over how Kevin Spacey apparently managed to completely lose his ability to act in the last five years.