According to actor Gabriel Byrne, who starred alongside Kevin Spacey in the 1995 blockbuster thriller The Usual Suspects, film production ground to a halt for two days after Spacey had been “accused of sexually inappropriate behavior our towards a younger actor.”
Byrne, star of Vikings and HBO’s In Treatment, recalled the abrupt pause in filming in an interview with The Sunday Times, saying that it was only much later when he realized, in hindsight, that the reason for the break in production was linked to accusations of sexual assault against Spacey.
“I did not know honestly then the extent of his violence.”
According to Byrne, colleagues in the film industry were aware of Spacey’s predatory behavior but never thought it was serious.
“I mean, he was kind of a joke in that people would say, ‘That’s Kevin,’ but nobody really understood the depth of his predations,” said the 67-year-old Irish actor.
“It was only years later that we began to understand that [filming] was closed down for a particular reason and that was because of inappropriate sexual behavior by Spacey.”
Spacey portrayed the role of Keyser Söze, a performance that inspired a somewhat prescient review in Rolling Stone which praised the actor’s “balls-out brilliant performance” as “Oscar bait all the way.” The 58-year-old actor did, in fact, go on to win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his iconic portrayal of one of Hollywood’s most infamous on-screen villains.
However, despite Spacey’s continued mastery of emblematic roles, the actor was disgraced earlier this year after he was accused by multiple people of sexually violating them. The first accusation came from Broadway actor, Anthony Rapp, who accused Spacey of sexually assaulting him when he was 14-years-old. At the time, Spacey claimed that he “honestly [did] not remember the encounter” and tried to pass it off as a drunken error in judgment.
Rapp was not the last person to accuse the former star of Netflix’s House of Cards. In November, CNN reported that at least eight people who had been working on the acclaimed show had come forward to accuse Spacey – then portraying the role of Frank Underwood – of engaging in “predatory” behavior, such as inappropriately touching employees and making lewd comments.
Byrne went on to tell the Times that Spacey had reminded him of disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein, saying that they shared “that element of absolute abuse of power.”
Weinstein, an Oscar-winning producer, has worked with Byrne on three of his films.
“I knew he was a sleaze-bag,” Byrne said of Weinstein.
The actor adds that he knew Weinstein “was a vile bully and I saw his bullying up close. I saw him be absolutely appalling, not just to women but to men as well. He had very little respect for any kind of human being.”
Roughly 50 women have thus far come out to accuse Weinstein of sexual misconduct and sexual assault spanning many decades.