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Spacey has designs on ‘Iceman’ movie
By Jeannie Williams, USA TODAY

Kevin Spacey definitely has a movie in mind for The Iceman Cometh, the new Broadway hit that could mean a second Tony Award for him. Kevin Spacey: Bought ‘Iceman’ rights for TV and film (AP). “I bought the rights for television and film. We’re not sure what it wil lbe,” he says. Brit Howard Davies would remain as director; “a no-brainer, “Spacey calls that decision. But he thinks opening it up beyond Harry Hope’s barroom would be a mistake. The four-hour, 15-minute length doesn’t seem a problem (there was a101-minute 1973 film version). “We get audiences in here, and they can’t even believe four hours went by .It’s like, wow, it didn’t feel that way!” For that, Spacey credits the depth and energy of Eugene O’Neill’s writing and Davies’ bringing out the story of each dreamer at the bar.

Others would add Spacey’s mesmerizing performance. He’s usually a cool dude in his movies (his Oscar was for The Usual Suspects), but Spacey, also one of the show’s producers, has a burning passion connected with Iceman: If you’ve heard about $100 tickets, he wants you to know that they subsidize “Camp Broadway,” which sells $20 tickets —including the front row! — to high school and college students, with the remainder as “rush” tickets sold the same day. Schools including NYU, Juilliard and SUNY Purchase are buying 500-ticket blocks.

This week, Spacey, who first saw Broadway shows as a kid from the cheap seats, gave the first of a twice-weekly series of talks he’ll do with the students. “When the kids come, they get it! They talk about the characters, the addiction — there’s a lot in this play that’s very modern. O’Neill was so ahead of his time.”

Spacey has a memorable story about Jason Robards, who sent him a warm letter on opening night and promised to see the show as soon as he could. In 1985, Spacey was rehearsing The Seagull with the late Colleen Dewhurst in Washington, D.C. Robards was doing Iceman, before taking it to New York. “I was very nervous about meeting him because I admired him so much. Colleen said, ‘Now you’ve gotta come. I’ll take you to the party.’ It was kind of late, the party was winding down, and (Robards) came around sort of behind me, and the hair on the back of my head kind of came up, and I felt this hand on my shoulder and looked up. He knew that I was about to start rehearsals for Long Day’s Journey . . the first to play (Tyrone) on Broadway since Robards had done it there. He looked down at me and said, ‘Take care of him. He was very good to me.’ And for me, that night was when he passed the torch to me.”

Spacey dedicates his Iceman performance to Alan J. Pakula, the director killed last year in a freak car accident. He has a story about him, too. “He was the first director in film to fight for me. “Pakula wanted him for the 1992 Consenting Adults and had to take Spacey’s screen test to Disney chief Michael Eisner’s Aspen house. “Eisner finally was the person who said, ‘You want to go with the new guy, go with the new guy.’ I ended up doing three movies with Disney, so all is forgiven.” Spacey says Pakula also showed him “how to conduct yourself, how to make people feel their contribution matters, that they’re members of a company.”