The actor was set to star in ‘1242: Gateway to the West’, a historical drama that was shopped at the Cannes film market, about a holy man of a Hungarian castle who tries to stop one of Genghis Khan’s armies from invading Europe. Spacey was set to play the holy man.
But the movie’s producer, Bill Chamberlain, tells ‘Variety’ that they have now replaced Spacey as their lead after he was charged in the UK with four counts of sexual assault and one count of “causing a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity without consent”.
Negotiations are currently underway with a new lead, who will be revealed in due course.
Spacey pleaded not guilty to all five counts in London on Thursday.
He will stand trial in the UK on June 6, 2023, with the trial expected to last three to four weeks.
Directed by Peter Soos, the English-language ‘Gateway to the West’ has a budget of around $10 million to $25 million, and is scheduled to begin a two-month shoot on October 17.
Here’s an official description of the film: “When the Kingdom of Hungary’s army was annihilated by the Mongols at the battle of Mohi, only the castle of Esztergom stood in their way to invade Europe. Batu, the grandson of Genghis Khan, reaches the walls of Esztergom with his invincible army.”
“The castle’s defenders led by Eusebius, the canon of Esztergom, and a Spanish mercenary, captain Simon, are preparing for the final battle. The arrival of the papal legate, Cardinal Cesareani, the Mongol Lunar New Year’s celebration and the mystical approach of Eusebius, offer the defenders a small glimmer of hope.”
Spacey is also starring in thriller ‘Peter Five Eight’.
Shortly after Spacey was charged, ‘Peter Five Eight’ producers stood by the actor.
“There are those who wish for him not to act, but they are outnumbered by fans worldwide who await an artist they have enjoyed for decades returning to the screen,” said producers in a statement.
“The production has no knowledge or comment on the various swirling allegations, and believes it’s a matter for the courts to determine validity if it exists. ‘Peter Five Eight’ is a film for fans who care more for the art than the scandal.”
The decision to charge Spacey was unveiled by the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service, which spent over a year reviewing a file passed to them by the Metropolitan Police.
At least some of the charges are believed to stem from Spacey’s time at the Old Vic theatre in London, where he served as artistic director from 2004-2015.
Following a cascade of sexual assault allegations against the actor in the US, the theatre undertook an internal investigation which, according to the BBC, resulted in 20 victims coming forward who claimed he had behaved inappropriately toward them.