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Spacey talks about his character in Beyond the Sea

Beyond The sea: Kevin Spacey’s film is a lovingly crafted account of ‘50s heartthrob singer and actor Bobby Darin. BEYOND THE SEA steers well clear of most biopic conventions, instead delivering a complex portrait of a gifted performer driven to succeed, following a childhood illness that gave him a life expectancy of just 15 years.

The film effortlessly blends fantasy and reality, past and present, as Bobby struggles to find the best way to tell us his story. It begins with his nostalgic childhood memories of being cared for as a sickly child by his loving family in the Bronx, before emerging into his rise to fame with ‘50s pop signature standards like Splish Splash, Beyond the Sea and Mack the Knife. It continues through his fairy-tale courtship and marriage to Sandra Dee (wonderfully portrayed by Kate Bosworth) under the media’s harsh glare, concluding with his soul-searching and ultimately career-destroying days as a morally earnest protestor of the Vietnam War.

Along the way, Spacey’s Darin is complemented by an ensemble of terrific actors, including Brenda Blethyn, Bob Hoskins, John Goodman and—as Darin’s tragic sister—Caroline Aaron. Greta Scacchi is also delightful as Sandra Dee’s domineering stage mother. A true labor of love for the director over many years, BEYOND THE SEA admirably showcases Spacey’s impressive singing and dancing, as he brings to life a performer who had more hits in more genres than any other musical act aside from Elvis Presley and Ray Charles. BEYOND THE SEA will have you snappin’ and tappin’ long after the lights have come up.

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.

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

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 long time 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 well known 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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