Darin Comes Back From Spacey

Some may call it an injustice that most of the world has forgotten Bobby Darin. Academy-award winning actor Kevin Spacey has spent the better part of four years attempting to right that wrong.

Leading Man Spacey As Director - Courtesy Of Lionsgate Studio

The actor, director and driving force behind the development of 2004's BEYOND THE SEA ? the story of Darin's all too brief, but extraordinary life, which premieres in the United States on Nov. 4 at AFI FEST 2004 presented by Audi ? Spacey is passionate about his newest picture and not shy about the determination it took to bring the story to life.

"You walk into a record store and Bobby Darin is not in just one musical category, he is in eight or nine categories? from Rock n' roll to pop, to folk, to country and gospel to protest songs, to the Vietnam War, ?and I am probably missing a couple," Spacey said. "So I think, musically, I found something to the idea that his music is almost a social commentary on what was happening in the United States in the 50s and 60s and 70s."

In fact, by the end of his brief 14-year career, Darin had more hits in more genres of music than any recording artist except Elvis Presley and Ray Charles. Spacey first heard about the screenplay in the early 80s, when he was still hustling as a stage actor. A longtime fan of Darin's music, Spacey said it sounded like a wonderful lead role to him at the time.

"I thought it would make a pretty compelling drama," Spacey said.
"But I was an unknown theatre actor in the 1980s, so strangely enough, they didn't think I was the right person for the job." But the picture wasn't developed, and lay on a Warner Brothers shelf collecting dust until the turn of the century, when a then very wellknown Spacey secured the rights to the film. Then things got a bit rough. "Everybody in town I talked to politely slammed the door in my face," Spacey said. "On a number of levels I can understand why. I was going around with this film and I was the only element in it. I was going to play Bobby Darin and I was going to sing. Secondarily, I think the film had gained a reputation as being a movie that, for one reason or another, couldn't get made, so you are dealing with a negative history."

Hollywood also has a built-in reluctance for embracing films that are perceived as "bio pics." When one adds music into the mix, things get even worse, Spacey said. "I think that films that are driven by music are looked upon as being difficult to sell," Spacey said. "You wouldn't necessarily know that this year with RAY' and I think a film about Johnny Cash that has been done, but nonetheless those built-in prejudices do exists. "It doesn't matter how many times you sight MOULIN ROUGE' or FAME or CHICAGO, because those are all anomalies. I think the music genre is one that audiences really dig and I think it has not been returned to or used enough." So Spacey endured and made his musical bio pic because he believed. "I want to shine a spotlight back on a man who has largely been forgotten," Spacey said. "Because he died so young, I believe he has been denied his rightful place next to greats in that era. And I hope that this movie will revive those who knew who Bobby Darin was and introduce him to those who have never heard of him." So will the film reach the desired audience? "It is going to be most remarkable blockbuster that has ever been made," Spacey said with a touch of sarcasm. "I have tried to make it for an audience that it doesn't matter if you know who Bobby Darin is or not. It won't in any way diminish your enjoyment of the film."

"I want this film to be both and international and American success. So far, I have seen the response from a regular audience and it has been an incredible reaction to the film and to the big musical and dance sequences that haven't been done in a really long time. People seem to really be enjoying that."

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