Kevin Spacey, the award-winning actor and Artistic Director of the Old Vic theatre, is to reunite with American Beauty director Sam Mendes to play the title role in Shakespeare’s Richard III in 2012.
The production will be staged at New York’s Brooklyn Academy of Music and London’s Old Vic as part of the third instalment of Mendes’s transatlantic initiative The Bridge Project.
Richard III, which premieres at BAM in February 2012 before opening in London in May, marks the first time Mendes and Spacey have worked together as director and actor since the 1999 film American Beauty, for which they both won Academy Awards.
Former Donmar Warehouse Artistic Director Mendes, whose work also includes films Revolutionary Road and Road To Perdition, commented: “I am absolutely delighted to be working with Kevin again for the first time since American Beauty, and I am doubly thrilled that he will be leading year three of The Bridge Project. Richard III is a play I love, and a role I think Kevin is born to play.”
Since becoming Artistic Director of the Old Vic in 2003 Spacey has appeared on its stage in productions including Richard II, A Moon For The Misbegotten, Speed-The-Plow and Inherit The Wind.
The Bridge Project began in 2009 with Mendes directing Simon Russell Beale and Ethan Hawke in The Cherry Orchard and The Winter’s Tale, followed by this year’s double bill of The Tempest and As You Like It, featuring Stephen Dillane and Juliet Rylance.
Earlier this year the decision was taken to delay the final part of The Bridge Project to 2012 in order to “implement a more ambitious international tour with a larger company”.
Richard III will tour briefly between its residencies in New York and London before embarking on a larger world tour from August to October 2012. Today, Spacey said he hoped “to bring a comprehensive educational programme and opportunities for emerging artists along with our travels, making an argument for the living theatre in all the major cities we will visit throughout 2012.”