American Beauty press junket, WJZ Channel 13
Wednesday, October 6, 1999
Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Kevin made an unexpected appearance on the local noon news. Fortunately I had heard a few minutes earlier that he was going to be on and had time to throw in a tape. I watched it over and over so that I could tell everyone what he said.
He was being interviewed live by satellite from California, and before the interview, one of the anchors, Marty Bass, was wondering why a star the caliber of Kevin Spacey was having to do one of those TV interviews to advertise his new movie. One of *the* most talked about movies ever!
They showed a quick shot of Kevin waiting in the studio in California to be interviewed, and he could hear what they were saying, so the anchor mentioned again that Kevin was one of the greatest actors ever, and he just didn’t know why Kevin was doing this press thing. Kevin said thank you and they went to another story and the other anchor said she thought Kevin should fix his collar.
The first anchor repeated a few times that he didn’t know why Kevin Spacey was doing this type of press tour. They went to other stories and then to Kevin. They joked about whether or not Kevin had fixed his collar while he waited. Marty told Kevin that they were live, not on a break, because “you Hollywood types” were running late and now they didn’t have time to do the “getting to know you” stuff they usually do on a break first.
Kevin said that was ok, but could he call Marty a “Baltimore type” since Marty called him a “Hollywood type” and Marty said that Kevin was a Jersey guy, and he could get away with anything he wants because Kevin walks the walk and talks the talk.
Kevin said he was a “Jersey guy who lives in NYC, so all that Hollywood talk… just calm yourself down, Marty.” The other anchors were laughing and hooting, and Kevin put his fists up like a prizefighter ready to duke it out.
Marty asked him again why he was doing the satellite press for this movie. That he didn’t need to be doing that. Kevin said that he had always believed that American Beauty would live or die by word of mouth advertising because neither he nor Annette Bening were actors who get people into the box office on the first weekend. They were a slow burn.
They talked about going around to colleges and doing the various press things to get people into the theaters and talking about the movie.
Marty said he was impressed that Kevin was out “beating the bushes” and Kevin started snapping his fingers like Bobby Darin and said “I’m singing for my supper, Marty.” Then they talked about how a lot of talk and hype about a movie can ruin the movie, and Kevin said they were aware of that but they tried to do the right kind of talk and that so far people seemed to be happy with what they were getting out of it.
They talked a little about the movie. Marty told Kevin that this had been a banner year for him what with The Iceman Cometh and now this incredible movie, and Kevin agreed. He said that he’s now had two experiences in theater and film that for him reached the highest levels of whatever he hoped he and those mediums could achieve. He said he’s got new benchmarks, that he’s in trouble, he’s gotta find something new to do.
Marty Bass told him that he deserves all the accolades that are coming his way this year.
Kevin said “Thanks, you Baltimore type.”
(If I ever find the tape I put the interview on, I’ll describe what he was wearing that day. It’s on one of many unmarked videos that I was going to label on some mysterious day in the future called “some time” but that never arrives.)**It’s now 2016 and that day still has not arrived.