"Sin, death, and hell have set their marks on him." Kevin Spacey as Richard III. Illustration: Jonathan Yeo.

Kevin Spacey thinks that this is the ideal time for modern audiences to catch up with Shakespeare’s 400-year-old villain, Richard III. In fact, he believes it so passionately that he self-financed “Now: In the Wings on a World Stage,” a film about his globe-trotting production of the classic tragedy.

“Now” is more than a recording of Spacey’s performance as the mad monarch with the crooked gait and twisted mind. It’s a backstage look at his first collaboration with director Sam Mendes since both won Academy Awards for their work on “American Beauty.”  The film screens for one night only, on Tuesday, April 29 at 7:00pm at the Lagoon Cinema in Minneapolis. It’s also available as video on demand beginning May 2 at https://www.kevinspacey.com/nowthefilm/ .

“People are fascinated by characters that cross the line,” the “House of Cards” star said by phone from Los Angeles.  “Think of the way television was for a very long time. All the characters had to be likable and really good at their jobs and good family men. Suddenly in the last 15 years we’ve seen such remarkable antiheroes created. It’s been proved by the popularity of these shows that audiences dig complex characters and dark storylines.”

 Spacey hopes that “NOW,” with its intimate scenes of actors’ camaraderie and live performance, communicates to movie audiences some of the thrill he feels onstage.

“I’m a theater rat. If anyone has liked anything I’ve ever done in film, I learned it in the theater.  That is my craft,” said Spacey, who in 2003 left Hollywood to become artistic director of England’s Old Vic theater.  “People ask me, ‘Why did you move to London 10 years ago for this theater company? Why aren’t you making movies?’ Because people put too much value on fame and money.  Theater is the actor’s medium. That’s where we do what we do best.”

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